Central Iowa leaders today unveiled a branding initiative to signify the region as the premiere agriculture and biosciences hub in the world.


The region's new brand, the Cultivation Corridor, is meant to provide a recognizable name for Central Iowa in the same way that Silicon Valley does for Northern California, said Steve Zumbach, attorney at Belin McCormick PC and a co-chair of the Capital Crossroads Capital Corridor committee, which is leading the effort to brand and promote the region.


Zumbach joined a number of leaders this morning at the World Food Prize headquarter: Iowa State University President Steven Leath, Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and DuPont Pioneer President Paul Schickler.


"What we wanted was a brand that captured the roots of our economy, and we wanted something that designated something we're absolutely the very, very best at," Zumbach told the crowd of nearly 200 Central Iowa business and civic leaders. 


Multiple speakers touted Central Iowa as a premiere agriculture and biosciences hub, pointing to the successes of Iowa State University and agricultural/bioscience-related businesses. Zumbach noted the challenge the region now has to live up to its proclamation of being the best.


The announcement comes a week after Brent Willett took over as executive director of the Cultivation Corridor initiative. Willett told the Business Record last week that he will be putting together a board of directors for the initiative and mapping a plan for the next year and beyond.


The Cultivation Corridor refers to the 60-mile radius surrounding Des Moines, which includes Ames and Iowa State University. Willett thinks that the initiative will benefit the entire state.


Vilsack thinks so too, but had his sights set even higher in remarks made this morning. Vilsack pointed out Iowa's role in feeding the quickly growing world population, and this initiative's role in building a "new natural resource economy" to include local and regional food systems and conservation as tool to create new markets.


"This is a special day for Iowa," Vilsack said. "Today represents what is great about our great state."


For more information on the Cultivation Corridor brand and initiative, go towww.cultivationcorridor.org.