The American Farm Bureau Federation, in partnership with Farm Credit, has announced the 10 semi-finalist teams in the 2019 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge.
“It’s a pleasure to recognize these 10 outstanding rural businesses,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Recognition of the faith, courage and creativity these entrepreneurs have shown in starting their rural businesses is well-deserved. Startup funds provided to the semi-finalists through the Challenge will help them take their food and agriculture businesses to the next level.”
Farm Bureau would not be able to recognize and support these rural businesses without funding provided by sponsors Farm Credit, John Deere, Country Financial, Farm Bureau Financial Services and Farm Bureau Bank.
The 10 semi-finalist teams were awarded $10,000 each. They are:
- AgHelp Corp. (Belding, Michigan) is a mobile outreach to the agriculture workforce. To get more information check out their website. Team lead: Feliciano Paredes
- Continuum Ag (Washington, Iowa) is a consulting and data management company with a focus on soil health. Find out more on their site. Team lead: Mitchell Hora
- Elite OviGen Inc. (Beverly Hills, Florida) is providing real-time software solutions for the sheep breeding industry. Explore more on their website. Team lead: Anette Skoog
- FarmlandFinder (Ames, Iowa) lets you search, analyze, and connect to available farmland for sale. To see more check out their site. Team lead: Steven Brockshus
- Glean LLC (Farmville, North Carolina) was created to deliver healthy and fresh foods — made directly from fruits and vegetables — into your hand. Explore more here. Team lead: Laura Hearn
- Merchant’s Garden AgroTech (Tucson, Arizona) makes fresh food accessible and affordable to everyone using the science of aquaponics and hydroponics. See more at their site. Team lead: Chaz Shelton
- Nebullam LLC (Ames, Iowa) began as an idea to focus on food security, production, and sustainability. Learn more here. Team lead: Clayton Mooney
- Pasture Labs/Trackter (Newnan, Georgia) offers live buying, selling, shipping, tracking, and payments for produce, all in one convenient online location. See how the company runs. Team lead: Josh Whitlock
- Texas Mobile Mill LLC (Madisonville, Texas) the first mobile olive processing unit in the State of Texas and the second largest mobile olive mill in the world. Check out all they do here. Team lead: Cathy Bernell
- Vinduino LLC (Temecula, California) provides wireless technologies that help farm communities manage irrigation better under changing climate conditions, Watch their video here. Team lead: Reinier van der Lee
The final four teams (selected from the 10 semi-finalist teams) will be announced Dec. 5 and will receive an additional $5,000 and have all expenses paid to compete in a live pitch competition at AFBF’s 100th Annual Convention in New Orleans on Jan. 13. The final four teams will compete to win:
- Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneur of the Year award and $15,000 (chosen by judges), for a total of $30,000
- People’s Choice award and $10,000 (chosen by public vote), for a total of $25,000
Startup funds for the 2019 Ag Innovation Challenge are provided by sponsors Farm Credit, John Deere, Country Financial, Farm Bureau Financial Services and Farm Bureau Bank.
The competition provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations in agriculture. This is the fifth year of the Challenge, which is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs launching food and agriculture businesses.