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Ag Innovation Challenge Seeking Top Entrepreneurs

Chad Smith

Associate News Service Editor, NAFB

Chase Hieneman

Director, Industry Relations

Chris Cornelison, MycoLogic LLC

photo credit: AFBF Photo, Michael LoBiondo

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s Ag Innovation Challenge is looking for entrepreneurs and innovators for the 2024 edition of the contest. Chad Smith has more on the competition, now in its 10th year.

Smith: The Ag Innovation Challenge is a business-based competition designed to showcase startups in the U.S. Chase Hieneman, director of industry relations at AFBF, says they’re looking for people who are working on ways to help meet the challenges faced by farmers and ranchers.
Hieneman: It is an opportunity for the startups to pitch their ideas to American Farm Bureau as well as our judges and to secure funding for their ideas, for their businesses, to help grow their businesses and take it to the next level. It's also an opportunity for them to interface with other professionals in the startup space.
Smith: The Ag Innovation Challenge is in its tenth year and has continued growing since it began. He talks about what makes a business a good fit for the challenge.
Hieneman: Any startup that is agriculture-focused, that is seeking to help farmers and ranchers meet the challenges that they face every day and trying to develop solutions. Those are the types of businesses that we're looking for. Those businesses that are thinking creatively in their product and in their service, but also their business model.
Smith: Hieneman says this is a great opportunity for new businesses, both from a financial and development standpoint.
Hieneman: The Ag Innovation Challenge is obviously an awesome opportunity to get an increase in financing. So, if company startups are looking to expand operations or take their companies to the next level, this is an opportunity. More so even than that, it's a great opportunity to network with other startups.
Smith: The Ag Innovation Challenge is presented in partnership with Farm Credit. Farm Bureau will award $165,000 in startup funds to ten businesses. For more information, go to fb.org/challenge. Chad Smith, Washington.