Harvust is the winner of the seventh annual Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge, becoming the 2021 Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year. AFBF, in partnership with Farm Credit, announced the winner at AFBF’s Virtual Annual Convention.
Walla Walla, Washington-based Harvust’s software platform helps farmers successfully hire, train, and communicate with employees. The company received a total of $50,000 in prize money to help grow the business. The Harvust team is led by Riley Clubb, a Washington Farm Bureau member.
Agro Empresas Black Belt of Coamo, Puerto Rico, won the People’s Choice Award, which is decided by public vote, and received a total of $20,000. Luis Raimundo Bures Martinez, a Puerto Rico Farm Bureau member, is team lead for the company, which standardizes methods and processes for hydroponic crop production.
Arbré Technologies Inc. of Wisconsin, led by Matthieu Vollmer, a Wisconsin Farm Bureau member, and TerraClear Inc. of Idaho, led by Trevor Thompson, an Idaho Farm Bureau member, are the other two finalist teams that competed in the final round of the competition.
The final four teams were selected on Friday from 10 semi-finalist business owners who presented to a panel of six industry judges. Each of the 10 finalists was awarded $7,500 and the final four teams were awarded a total of $15,000 each.
“Innovation is at the heart of what we do as farmers and ranchers, and these Challenge finalists have created a wide array of solutions to help us continue to grow plentiful, healthy food, fuel and fiber,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “I look forward to seeing these companies continue to grow as their products and services are utilized on farms and ranches across the country.” The Challenge provides opportunities for Farm Bureau members to showcase business innovations being developed for agriculture.
The Entrepreneur of the Year was selected by a four-person judging panel: Jamie Johansson, president, California Farm Bureau Federation; Nick Wijnberg, vice president — food and agribusiness, Farm Credit; Tom Schryver, executive director of the Center for Regional Economic Advancement, Cornell University; and Taya Spelhaug, TechSpark manager — North Dakota, Microsoft.