Ag Entrepreneurs Wanted for Competition

Ernie NeffAgriculture

entrepreneurs

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has opened online applications for the 2021 Ag Innovation Challenge. This national business competition showcases U.S. startup companies that are addressing challenges faced by America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

Farm Bureau will award $145,000 in startup funds provided by sponsors Farm Credit, John Deere, Bayer Crop Science, Country Financial, Farm Bureau Financial Services and Farm Bureau Bank.

Launched in 2015, the challenge identifies agricultural entrepreneurs to watch and supports innovation essential to Farm Bureau member businesses and communities. Farm Bureau is seeking entrepreneurs who are addressing both traditional challenges that farmers and rural communities face as well as business owners tackling new challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

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“In light of the impacts Farm Bureau members are experiencing from COVID-19, solutions from entrepreneurs are needed more than ever to help farmers, ranchers and rural communities,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “We’re very interested to see how entrepreneurs will use startup funds provided by the challenge to help support farms and ranches and grow the rural economy.”

One business that was a semi-finalist in the 2020 competition is testing the use of autonomous drone sprayers to sanitize large-scale venues, such as baseball stadiums and other spectator events.

Farm Bureau and Farm Credit will select 10 startup companies to compete at the AFBF Annual Convention in January 2021 as semi-finalists. The 10 semi-finalist teams will be announced on Oct. 5 and awarded $7,500 each. The 10 teams will compete to advance to the final round where four teams will receive an additional $7,500 and compete live on stage in front of Farm Bureau members, investors and industry representatives. The final four teams will compete to win:

  • Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year, for a total of $50,000
  • People’s Choice award, for a total of $20,000

Entrepreneurs must be Farm Bureau members to qualify as top 10 semi-finalists. Applicants who are not already Farm Bureau members can join a state Farm Bureau of their choice.

Detailed eligibility guidelines, the competition timeline, videos and profiles of past winners are available here.

Applications must be received by midnight Eastern Daylight Time on July 31, 2020.

Source: American Farm Bureau Federation

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