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Dairy startup gets NSF program funding, accelerator backing

A team of students who brainstormed their business idea – a cloud-based monitoring system for dairy cows – during the Digital Agriculture Hackathon in March is moving forward with its startup.

Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Dairy Barn.

FoodFul, run by a group of recent Cornell graduates, earned a spot in the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, based in New York City, and has secured a $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program.

FoodFul is piloting its dairy monitoring system, DairyX, at Cornell’s dairy barns and plans to expand with pilot projects at Tompkins County farms this fall, and a launch in early 2020.

DairyX uses sensors placed throughout a dairy barn to measure cows’ individual food and water intake, activity level and other behaviors via radio frequency identification tags attached to each cow’s ear. The system collects information on each cow, then sends alerts to farmers by mobile phone or computer.

“Farmers have a tough time monitoring the health of each individual cow,” said Joseph Tarnate, MPS ’19, CEO and co-founder. “Any deviation from the herd average could signify a problem.”

FoodFul is working at the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator through October, and will use its I-Corps grant this fall to interview dairy farmers in various regions of the U.S. about regional differences in farming practices.

Other team members include Xitang Zhao ’18, M.Eng. ’19, FoodFul’s chief technology officer and co-founder; and Han Wang ’22, who joined the team after the spring hackathon.

– Kathy Hovis

Media Contact

Lindsey Hadlock