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FarmlandFinder named AFBF Rural Entrepreneur of the Year

Iowa-based FarmlandFinder aims to make the world’s farmland-availability information accessible.

January 16, 2019

3 Min Read
Photo of Steven Brockshus with plaque for winning AFBF award.
AFBF photo

FarmlandFinder is the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Rural Entrepreneur of the Year. Team lead Steven Brockshus won the Ag Innovation Challenge by beating three other teams from across the nation.

Iowa-based FarmlandFinder, which aims to make the world’s farmland-availability information accessible, took home an additional $15,000 for a total of $30,000 in prize money as Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneur of the Year.

Glean LLC of North Carolina won the People’s Choice Award (chosen by public vote) in the competition and an additional $10,000 in prize money, for a total of $25,000. Glean LLC produces healthy and fresh foods made from fruits and vegetables. Laura Hearn is the team lead for Glean LLC.

AgHelp Corp. of Michigan, led by Feliciano Paredes, and Elite OviGen Inc. of Florida, led by Anette Skoog, were the other two finalists who competed in the final round of the challenge in New Orleans.

More on FarmlandFinder

FarmlandFinder a digital toolset for land sale research, has expanded to 12 states throughout the Midwest and launched a suite of tools to help land professionals with farmland acquisition, valuation and analysis.

With the Midwest expansion, land professionals in 12 states can now search properties for sale, see real-time land values, get auction results, download soil maps and chat with a local expert - all in one place.

"Farmland real estate has been left behind... residential real estate has Zillow and the Multiple Listing Service, commercial real estate has CoStar and what does land have? We're stuck with sale bills posted at a gas station and bookmarking individual land brokerage websites," says Brockshus. "FarmlandFinder exists because land research shouldn't be a time suck. Each year, $56 billion of land changes hands, and buyers and sellers have virtually no access to reliable, up-to-date information. We are tackling the challenge of getting access to quality land sale data, so growers and landowners can easily understand the market, quickly find land for sale and see up-to-date land values.

FarmlandFinder was first available in Iowa in 2017. With the new year, growers, landowners, appraisers, brokers, bankers and investors in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin will be able to see land for sale, auction results and soil maps for farmland in their state.

FarmlandFinder's suit of digital tools includes: land for sale map, land values map, auction calendar, active listings, past sales map, auction results, landowner search, interactive map website plugins and advertising opportunities for land brokers.

Back to the award

The final four teams competed for the award by pitching their business ideas to a panel of judges before a live audience on Jan. 13. They each received $15,000 in December and advanced in the competition.

“We’re proud to recognize these outstanding rural businesses and entrepreneurs,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “The faith, courage and creativity these entrepreneurs have shown in starting their rural businesses is commendable.”

“Farm Credit is excited to partner with Farm Bureau once again on the Ag Innovation Challenge, to help identify and foster a new generation of agriculture entrepreneurs,” said Todd Van Hoose, CEO, Farm Credit Council. “We can’t wait to watch these creative companies create jobs and grow the rural economy.”

The challenge, now in its fifth year, provides opportunities for individuals to showcase business innovations being developed in rural regions of the U.S. It is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses. The top challenge teams were selected by judges with expertise in business development, equity investment funding management, agribusiness lending and entrepreneurial coaching.

The final four teams were part of a group of 10 semi-finalist teams announced in October that were awarded $10,000 each in startup funds. The semi-finalist teams were selected by judges with expertise in business development, agribusiness lending and entrepreneurial coaching.

Source: AFBF and FarmlandFinder, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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