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Farm Bureau Strengthening Rural America

Rural Development

The American Farm Bureau Federation Rural Development program fosters economic development in rural communities across the United States. The program focuses on three projects that help to strengthen rural businesses.

  • Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge
  • Patriot Project
  • USDA program survey

More than 70 rural businesses in 26 states have been supported through these projects through access to startup funding, business plan development, visibility for their businesses, and networking with peers and mentors.

Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge

The Farm Bureau® Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses. Rural entrepreneurs pitch innovative business ideas to a team of judges with expertise in business development and agribusiness. These entrepreneurs compete for $145,000 of startup funds. Learn more by visiting the Strong Rural America website.


Watch the announcement of the 2017 Challenge Top 10 Teams
on Wednesday, October 5 at 12:45 pm EST



  • Download Video of the 2017 Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge – Coming Soon!
  • News release - Top 10 Teams Win $120K in Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge – Coming Soon!
  • Downloadable Event photos – Coming Soon!
  • Newsline – Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge Finalists Support Rural America - Coming Soon!
  • Quick facts about the challenge
  • Strong Rural America website


Patriot Project

The Farm Bureau Patriot Project is a mentorship program that connects military veteran beginning farmers and ranchers with experienced Farm Bureau member farmers and ranchers.

American Farm Bureau is conducting a pilot of the FB Patriot Project in Texas and Arkansas in partnership with the Texas Farm Bureau and Arkansas Farm Bureau. American Farm Bureau has worked with beginning farmer programs to identify interested military veteran farmers, including the Farmer Veteran Coalition, NCAT's Armed to Farm and Texas AgrAbility's From Battleground to Breaking Ground. The FB Patriot Project will expand to to include more states in Spring 2016. Learn more by visiting the Strong Rural America website.


USDA Program Survey

American Farm Bureau is launching a new online survey to collect feedback from farmers and ranchers about their experiences with 10 USDA programs. If you are a U.S. farmer, rancher or producer you are invited to complete the survey at usdaprograms.questionpro.com

Learn more by visiting the Strong Rural America website


Rural Development & State Farm Bureaus Report

AFBF surveyed state Farm Bureau staff involved in rural development activities in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Farm Bureau staff were asked what activities they were engaged in and the types of training they would like to receive.

The majority of state Farm Bureau staff members were engaged in direct markets activities (i.e., CSAs, farmers markets, Farm to School). The top training need varied across regions. The training priorities included rural entrepreneurship, local and regional food initiatives and grant development. Click on the report below to learn more.