The 10 semi-finalist teams in the 2020 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge have been announced.
“These hard-working entrepreneurs have demonstrated their commitment to take on some of the biggest challenges in agriculture. Their innovation will help American farmers continue to grow healthy, affordable products for consumers,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “It’s a pleasure to recognize and award these outstanding businesses to help them deliver solutions that will drive U.S. agriculture forward.”
The competition provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations in agriculture. This is the sixth year of the Challenge, which was the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs launching food and agriculture businesses.
The 10 semi-finalist teams were awarded $10,000 each. The finalists:
- Ag Butler, Lebanon, Missouri. Team lead: Kevin Johansen
- Green State Biochar, Barton, Vermont. Team lead: Donna Pion
- Hivelend, Baltimore, Maryland. Team lead: Dawn Musil
- HydroSide Systems LLC, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Team lead: Dana Mohr
- Innovative Agricultural Technologies, LLC, Carthage, North Carolina. Team lead: Matthew Parker
- Rantizo, Iowa City, Iowa. Team lead: Michael Ott
- Re-Nuble, New York, New York. Team lead: Tinia Pina
- SwineSentinel, Ames, Iowa. Team lead: B.J. Brugman
- The Bene Baby Company, Inc, Nekoosa, Wisconsin. Team lead: Nikos Linardakis
- Tractor Zoom, Waukee, Iowa. Team lead: Kyle McMahon
Semi-finalist teams will have the opportunity to participate in pitch training provided by Cornell University and will travel to the AFBF Annual Convention in Austin, Texas, in January to compete to be the Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year. The 10 semi-finalists will compete on Jan. 17. The final four teams will advance to compete on Jan. 19, with the opportunity to win:
- Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneur of the Year for a total of $30,000
- People’s Choice Award (chosen by public vote), for a total of $25,000
Farm Bureau would not be able to recognize and support these rural businesses without funding provided by sponsors Farm Credit, Bayer Crop Science, John Deere, Country Financial, Farm Bureau Financial Services and Farm Bureau Bank.