Farm Progress

Ready for 2018’s Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge?

Food and ag startups have until June 30 to apply for the competition and a share of $145,000 in funds.

Tyler Harris

May 17, 2017

2 Min Read
FARM SHOP INNOVATORS: A.J. Stauffer (left) and Ryan Stauffer won the People's Choice Award in the Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge last year for the Levrack.

Farm Bureau's Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge is accepting applications from entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses. A total of 10 teams will be selected for the 2018 Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge, four finalists and six semi-finalists. These business owners compete for a share of $145,000 of startup funds.

The Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge is the first national business competition focused exclusively on helping rural entrepreneurs overcome hurdles they face.

Nebraska wins big in 2017
Last year, two Nebraska startup businesses were selected as finalists in this competition, including Levrack of Seward, that designed a mobile shelving unit to meet the needs of efficient, lower-cost shelving for farm shops and garages, and Windcall Manufacturing Inc. of Venango, who designed the GrainGoat, a hand-held harvester that collects, cleans and calculates the moisture of small grains within minutes.

Each of the four finalists received $15,000 in startup funds. Members of the public participated in a live-streaming of the event finals and voted online to select the People's Choice Award, which was given to Levrack, along with an additional $10,000.

"This is a wonderful program that really helps rural entrepreneurs," Audrey Schipporeit, Nebraska Farm Bureau's director of generational engagement, says. "Rural entrepreneurs typically face unique challenges including limited options for startup funding, which Farm Bureau aims to address through the challenge. Farm Bureau is focused on elevating rural entrepreneurs, their ideas and their skills to make good things happen in rural areas."

Applications accepted until June 30
Applications for the challenge opened May 1 and will be accepted until June 30. The finalist will compete during the American Farm Bureau Federation annual convention in Nashville, Tenn., for a chance to win an additional $15,000 in prize money, courtesy of sponsor Farm Bureau Bank. After a live-stream of the event, members of the public will be invited to vote online for the People's Choice Award, which gives an additional $10,000 in startup funds.

For more information about the AFBF Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge, contact Audrey Schipporeit at [email protected].

Source: Nebraska Farm Bureau



About the Author(s)

Tyler Harris

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Tyler Harris is the editor for Wallaces Farmer. He started at Farm Progress as a field editor, covering Missouri, Kansas and Iowa. Before joining Farm Progress, Tyler got his feet wet covering agriculture and rural issues while attending the University of Iowa, taking any chance he could to get outside the city limits and get on to the farm. This included working for Kalona News, south of Iowa City in the town of Kalona, followed by an internship at Wallaces Farmer in Des Moines after graduation.

Coming from a farm family in southwest Iowa, Tyler is largely interested in how issues impact people at the producer level. True to the reason he started reporting, he loves getting out of town and meeting with producers on the farm, which also gives him a firsthand look at how agriculture and urban interact.

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