Purdue University's Digital Innovation in Agri-Food Systems Laboratory (DIAL) is a venture studio at Purdue University focused on creating startups that bring digital innovation to food and agriculture systems. They partnered with High Alpha Innovation to develop entrepreneurs and ideas to create and fund high-value startup companies for the agri-food industry.
A shortage of labor is one of the greatest challenges facing agriculture today: a recent nationwide poll shows that nearly 90% of farmers find it difficult to fill agricultural jobs. As a result, the U.S. does not have enough people to pick and harvest the crops to feed the nation. The H-2A visa program has been successful in helping alleviate some of the burden, but a huge supply and demand problem still exists between farmers and foreign workers — and the program is inherently full of barriers.
Together with Purdue University, High Alpha Innovation completed Sprint Week and launched Croft, a digital collaboration and workflow tool that helps organizations easily manage the H-2A seasonal worker visa program for farmers and growers. Croft’s online system simplifies the application and communication processes for both the farmer and worker by coordinating with visa processors, legal experts, and financial professionals. Farmers are able to view save their applications within the mobile platform; ensure they are audit-compliant; communicate with past and current workers; and avoid the extensive amount of time and money it would take to manage the H-2A application process on their own. Workers can ensure they are meeting their milestones for placement via easy-to-use communication tools, which will include translation services in the product roadmap. Croft is led by co-founder and CEO Scott Prince.