The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), in partnership with Farm Credit, has announced the 10 semifinalist teams in the 2020 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge.
“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,” AFBF president Zippy Duvall said. “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 agricultural businesses.
AFBF said it would not be able to recognize and support these rural businesses without generous funding provided by sponsors Farm Credit, Bayer Crop Science, John Deere, Country Financial, Farm Bureau Financial Services and Farm Bureau Bank.
The 10 semifinalist teams were awarded $10,000 each. They are:
- Ag Butler, Lebanon, Mo. Team lead: Kevin Johansen.
- Green State Biochar, Barton, Vt. Team lead: Donna Pion.
- Hivelend, Baltimore, Md. Team lead: Dawn Musil.
- HydroSide Systems LLC, Coeur d'Alene, Ida. Team lead: Dana Mohr.
- Innovative Agricultural Technologies LLC, Carthage, N.C. Team lead: Matthew Parker.
- Rantizo, Iowa City, Iowa. Team lead: Michael Ott.
- Re-Nuble, New York, N.Y. Team lead: Tinia Pina.
- SwineSentinel, Ames, Iowa. Team lead: B.J. Brugman.
- The Bene Baby Co. Inc, Nekoosa, Wis. Team lead: Nikos Linardakis.
- Tractor Zoom, Waukee, Iowa. Team lead: Kyle McMahon.
Semifinalist 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 semifinalists will compete on Jan. 17, 2020. 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 and the People’s Choice Award (chosen by public vote) for a total of $25,000.