The American Farm Bureau Federation and Farm Credit have announced the 10 semi-finalist teams in the 2023 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge. The challenge is a partnership between the two organizations that focuses on advancing agricultural innovation by supporting start-up businesses nationwide.
The competition provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations in agriculture. This is the 10th year of the challenge, which was the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs launching agriculture and food-related businesses. Farm Bureau is offering $165,000 in startup funds throughout the course of the competition.
The 10 semi-finalist teams are being awarded $10,000 each. They are:
- anu, Indiana. Team lead: Scott Massey
- Appanoose Manufactured Products, Iowa. Team lead: Mark Mendick
- Barn Owl Precision Agriculture, Colorado. Team lead: Sarah Hinkley
- Idem Irrigation, Nebraska. Team lead: Phil Holliday
- ReproHealth Technologies, Indiana. Team lead: Jim Donahue
- Secret Garden Bees, North Carolina. Team lead: James Hartman
- Share Farm, Washington. Team lead: Vincent Peak
- Smooth Ag, Texas. Team lead: River McTasney
- UAV-IQ Precision Agriculture, California. Andreas Neuman
- Udder Ways LLC, New York. Team lead: Jody Neal
The final round will happen at the AFBF Convention
The 10 semi-finalist teams will compete at the AFBF Convention on Friday, Jan. 19, to advance to the final round, where the four finalist teams will receive an additional $5,000, bringing their total to $15,000 each.
The final four teams will compete live in front of Farm Bureau members, investors, and industry representatives on Sunday, Jan. 21, to win three top titles and prizes:
- Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge Winner, for a total of $50,000
- Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge Runner-up, for a total of $20,000
- People’s Choice Team selected by public vote for an additional $5,000 (all ten semi-finalist teams compete for this honor)
The top 10 semi-finalist teams will participate in pitch training and mentorship from Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business faculty prior to competing at AFBF’s Convention. In addition, the top 10 semi-finalist teams will have the opportunity to network with industry leaders and venture capital representatives from USDA’s Rural Business Investment Program.