Morgantown entrepreneur wins RCBI Vanguard Agriculture competition

 Feb. 15, 2019

Charleston – Jordon Masters, owner of Morgantown-based MicroGenesis, a specialty produce greenhouse, is the winner of the 2019 West Virginia Vanguard Agriculture Competition. This is the fifth year for the competition, which is sponsored by the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI). Masters was honored at the annual West Virginia Small Farm Conference in Charleston Friday afternoon.

Masters will receive a business assistance package from RCBI valued in excess of $10,000, including production and marketing assistance.

While the primary focus of MicroGenesis is to produce and conduct research and development on improving microgreen production, Masters was selected for his cloud-based system that introduces the Internet of Things to the greenhouse.

From sensors and control modules for environmental monitoring of greenhouse systems to inventory management and accounting, Masters’ system is designed to let the small farmer focus more on the business of growing. The systems run on MicroGenesis’ private server network and brings small farmers together to give them access to markets for their products, affordable technology and larger amounts of data to help them compete with larger producers.

“The recognition from this award alone gets our name out there and serves as validation of our technology for potential partners in the future,” Masters said.

Bill Woodrum, project coordinator for Agricultural Innovations at RCBI said Masters’ product is an innovative way for small farmers to work together.

“Jordon’s system not only provides tools to small farmers that help them operate the management side of their business, it gives them an opportunity work together to provide locally grown produce to local restaurants, schools and even hospitals,” Woodrum said.

The West Virginia Vanguard Agriculture Competition honors innovation and ingenuity in agriculture, recognizing an entrepreneur whose idea has potential to solve logistical challenges in the local food supply chain.

The annual contest is part of RCBI’s Agricultural Innovations initiative, a focused effort to improve opportunities for West Virginia’s farming and agricultural economy. Funded by a grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the initiative supports and enhances a vibrant local foods system by promoting entrepreneurship and innovation.