The American Farm Bureau Federation, in partnership with Farm Credit, is shining a spotlight on start-up companies focused on advancing agricultural innovation by naming the top 10 teams in the 2024 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge.
“The future of American agriculture is bright due in part to start-up companies like those competing in the Ag Innovation Challenge,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Entrepreneurs’ innovative solutions to the challenges that we’re facing today help clear hurdles for the farmers and ranchers of tomorrow as they provide food, fiber and renewable fuel for families both here at home and around the globe.”
The competition provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations in agriculture. This is the 10th year of the Challenge, which was the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs launching agriculture and food-related businesses. Farm Bureau is offering $165,000 in start-up funds throughout the course of the competition.
The 10 semi-finalist teams are being awarded $10,000 each. They are:
- anu, Indiana. Team lead: Scott Massey
- Appanoose Manufactured Products, Iowa. Team lead: Mark Mendick
- Barn Owl Precision Agriculture, Colorado. Team lead: Sarah Hinkley
- Idem Irrigation, Nebraska. Team lead: Phil Holliday
- ReproHealth Technologies, Indiana. Team lead: Jim Donahue
- Secret Garden Bees, North Carolina. Team lead: James Hartman
- Share Farm, Washington. Team lead: Vincent Peak
- Smooth Ag, Texas. Team lead: River McTasney
- UAV-IQ Precision Agriculture, California. Andreas Neuman
- Udder Ways LLC, New York. Team lead: Jody Neal
The 10 semi-finalist teams will compete at the AFBF Convention on Friday, Jan. 19, to advance to the final round where the four finalist teams will receive an additional $5,000 bringing their total to $15,000 each. The final four teams will compete live in front of Farm Bureau members, investors and industry representatives on Sunday, Jan. 21, to win three top titles and prizes:
- Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge Winner, for a total of $50,000
- Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge Runner-up, for a total of $20,000
- People’s Choice Team selected by public vote, for an additional $5,000 (all 10 semi-finalist teams compete for this honor)
The top 10 semi-finalist teams will participate in pitch training and mentorship from Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business faculty prior to competing at AFBF’s Convention. In addition, the top 10 semi-finalist teams will have the opportunity to network with industry leaders and venture capital representatives from USDA’s Rural Business Investment Program.
Farm Bureau would not be able to recognize and support these rural businesses without generous funding provided by sponsors Farm Credit, Bayer, John Deere, Farm Bureau Bank and Farm Bureau Financial Services.
To learn more about the Challenge visit fb.org/challenge.