Insignum AgTech and Beck’s collaborate to help corn ‘talk’

Insignum AgTech develops plant genetic traits that give farmers an early indication of yield-limiting factors like disease, insect pests or fertility loss. Insignum AgTech and Beck’s Hybrids have signed an agreement to test Insignum’s innovative corn traits in Beck’s elite varieties. (Insignum AgTech photo)

Plant genetic innovation indicates if crops have been exposed to disease, insect pests or fertility loss

ATLANTA, Ind. – Insignum AgTech® and Beck’s have signed an agreement to test Insignum’s innovative corn traits in Beck’s elite varieties. The companies will collaborate to cross the trait into proprietary Beck’s genetics for field-testing in 2023 to evaluate commercial viability of the traits.

Insignum AgTech develops plant genetic traits that enable plants to “talk” and signal to farmers when specific plant stresses begin.

Insignum AgTech CEO Kyle Mohler, at left, and Beck’s Hybrids research manager Tom Koch interact during Insignum’s 2022 Field Demonstration Days. The companies have signed an agreement to test Insignum’s innovative corn traits in Beck’s elite varieties. (Insignum AgTech photo)

“With this trait, a corn plant generates purple pigment, indicating that a fungal infection has started but is not yet apparent. Additional traits will utilize other natural pigments, such as red or blue, that give an early indication of yield-limiting factors such as insect pests or fertility loss,” said Insignum Ag Tech CEO Kyle Mohler, a Purdue University alumnus. “Farmers will gain the ability to sustainably and precisely treat when and where needed, ultimately increasing yields without arbitrarily increasing costly inputs.”

As Insignum AgTech transitions from research to a commercial development phase, Mohler is pleased to collaborate with Beck’s, the largest family-owned retail seed company and the third-largest seed brand in the U.S. 

“Beck’s values technology that helps farmers succeed,” said Tom Koch, research manager at Beck’s. “Insignum’s genetic traits are well aligned with that mission. Farmers can see what their plants need and then respond to improve crop health and yields. We were encouraged by Insignum’s results we saw in field trials last year, and we’re hopeful about this collaboration.” 

Initial results of the trials will be available to select stakeholders at Insignum’s Field Demonstration Days in central Indiana in the fall.

In January 2022, Insignum AgTech received a $100,000 investment from the Purdue Ag-Celerator, an agriculture innovation fund. Ag-Celerator provides critical startup support for Purdue innovators who bring Purdue-patented intellectual property or Purdue “know-how” technologies to market. It is operated by the Purdue Foundry, with assistance from the Purdue College of Agriculture, the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization and the agricultural industry.

Mohler earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Purdue in 2007. He was a postdoctoral researcher at the university from 2015-18 before he founded Insignum AgTech in 2019.

About Insignum AgTech

Insignum AgTech creates biotechnology that enables plants to use their pigments to warn growers about plant stresses, such as disease, insect pests or low fertility. For more information, see

About Beck’s

Beck’s – Farmers At Heart® – revolutionized the customer seed buying experience by remaining true to a foundation built on faith, family, and farming. Founded in 1937, Beck’s appreciates the farmers who have helped them become the largest family-owned retail seed company and the third-largest seed brand in the United States. The Beck family is now in its fifth generation of family members who work in the business to honor God and help farmers succeed. The Beck family and team of employees help farmers achieve success from generation to generation through authentic customer experiences, product diversity, seed quality, and performance. With a home office located in Atlanta, Ind., Beck’s serves farmers throughout the Midwest and Mid-South. For more information about Beck’s, visit Follow Beck’s on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

About Purdue Startup Foundry

Purdue Startup Foundry helps startups prepare for venture investment. The team works with early-stage startups looking for their first money in and prepares them to raise their first seed round. This is done by offering early-stage funding, entrepreneur-in-residence support, enhanced pitch coaching, graphic design services and an emphasis on increasing traction. The Startup Foundry supports two pitch competitions: the Black & Gold Awards, which invest $30,000 (Black Award) and $100,000 (Gold Award) in Purdue-affiliated startups. Ag-Celerator invests up to $100,000 into Purdue-affiliated startups with connections to the agriculture industry. Investments are awarded each semester. Purdue Startup Foundry also works closely with Purdue Ventures to support its portfolio companies and ensure coaching and advice mirrors what the investor network needs.   

Media contact: Steve Martin,

Source: Kyle Mohler,