The Osnabrücker Land region lies in the centre of Germany's most intensively farmed agricultural area and is home to a high-density, comprehensive value-creation network which spans the entire sector from agricultural technology to nutritional science and also includes leading research institutions. It is this structure which has gained the economic area between the cities of Oldenburg and Münster its nickname "Agrotech Valley" and made it unique throughout Europe. The region thus offers ideal conditions for improving agricultural practice across the board. Parallel to this, it has high-performance transfer institutions with international profiles.
The companies, research institutions and agricultural system technology service providers who have come together within the Agrotech Valley Forum share the common goals of promoting economic development of the agricultural sector and the region as well as offsetting infrastructure-related obstacles.
The primarily owner-managed companies include both global market leaders and also regionally focused suppliers of agricultural technology products and services. In addition to this, numerous scientific institutions are based in the region, such as Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences (HS OS), the University of Osnabrück (UOS), the COALA competence centre and the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). In 2018 the Osnabrück Innovation Centre (ICO) founded the “Seedhouse” start-up accelerator, aimed at the agricultural and nutritional science sectors. Cross-manufacturer ventures such as the Competence Center ISOBUS e. V., DKE Data GmbH (“Agrirouter” data exchange platform) or the ISOBUS test centre play an important role in the region’s development. In the field of practical research Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences is currently establishing the “Agro-Technicum” centre, an innovative institution devoted to agricultural robotics. In response to this bundling of exceptional competence in companies and scientific institutions and the central importance of agricultural and nutritional science for the local economic area, the Landkreis Osnabrück administrative district and Osnabrücker Land business development agency (WIGOS GmbH) support a wide range of initiatives designed to strengthen this value-creation network.
One project, initially titled “AgritechNet Nordwest”, has been in place since early 2017. It takes the form of a network for agricultural technology companies and provides a forum for industrial companies and academics to interact. In order to stabilise these networking activities the participating universities, research institutions and companies decided to set up a joint association. The outcome was the “Agrotech Valley Forum e. V.” association, founded in July 2019.