Showcasing Business Innovations in Agriculture
The American Farm Bureau Federation, in partnership with Farm Credit, is accepting applications for the 2019 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge, the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs launching food and agriculture businesses. Rural entrepreneurs will pitch innovative business ideas to a team of judges with expertise in ag technologies, business development and agribusiness, competing for $145,000 in startup funds made possible by our sponsors: Farm Credit, John Deere, Farm Bureau Bank, Country Financial and Farm Bureau Financial Services.
How to apply
Submit your for-profit business idea related to food and agriculture online by Sept. 24, 2018. Farm Bureau is working with Village Capital, an organization that finds, trains and invests in entrepreneurs across the U.S. and worldwide, to evaluate and select finalists.
Who is eligible to apply?
Business idea must be for a food or agriculture business. Ideas can include, but are not limited to:
- Ag technologies
- CSAs, farmers market, food stands, food hubs
- Farms, ranches, greenhouses, managed forests, aquaponics, cut flowers, herbs, honey, landscape plants
- Farm-to-table businesses
- Support services, including scouting, equipment repair, fertilizer sales
- Value-added processing, including yogurts, cheese, processed meats
- Wineries, breweries, cideries and distilleries
Businesses must be a for-profit company. A for-profit business is defined as an organization that exists primarily to generate a profit, that is, to take in more money than it spends.
Applicant must be at least 18 years of age.
Who is not eligible to apply?
Farm Bureau staff at the county, state or national level or one of Farm Bureau's affiliate companies, such as AAIC or Farm Bureau Bank, are not eligible to participate in the Challenge. Spouses and family members living in the same household of the Farm Bureau staff member or staff member of Farm Bureau affiliated companies are not eligible to participate in the Challenge.
Meet the 2018 Challenge Finalists and the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year, Swine Tech, Inc.
Check out more of the 2018 Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge participants here.
Aug. 15, 2018
Online application opens
Apply at https://vilcap.com/f/19.
Sept. 24, 2018
Online application closes
Nov. 5, 2018
Deadline for non-members to join Farm Bureau
Visit fb.org/join to learn about becoming a member
Nov. 9, 2018
Ten semifinalist teams announced and awarded $10,000.
Dec. 5, 2018
Final Four Announced
Final four teams (selected from the top 10 semifinalist teams) announced and awarded an additional $5,000 and all expenses paid to compete in live pitch competition.
Jan. 13, 2019
Final Four Compete
The final four teams compete at American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in New Orleans to win:
- Farm Bureau 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
Thank You to Our Sponsors
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