Home Indiana Agriculture News Entrepreneurs Wanted: Apply by April 29 for Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge

Entrepreneurs Wanted: Apply by April 29 for Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge

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Credit: AFBF Photo, Philip Gerlach

Farm Bureau is hosting a competition for entrepreneurs to help the ag industry and applications for the contest are due Friday, April 29.

The Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge is a national business competition that showcases U.S. startups developing innovative solutions that address challenges facing America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

Dusty Reynolds of Birds Eye Robotics, a company developing a robotic way to identify and remove dead birds from poultry operations, was the runner up last year. Reynolds says the contest offers many benefits.

“We looked at this as even if we walk away with $0, there’s folks within those rooms, there’s access to contacts, you’re going to see a lot of people, you’re going to rub shoulders with people who you never would have met. The cash is great, but honestly, it’s the contacts, it’s the relationships, it’s the exposure that you’re just not going to get if you hunker down in your office and just focus on your screen all day.”

He says connecting with others through the Ag Innovation Challenge and the Farm Bureau Annual Convention helped his business.

“We went to a restaurant and there was a fellow that we had met from the UK, he is an expert within poultry but also with computer vision. This is a guy that’s provided a ton of resources for us just since we met him down there. Going to this pitch competition, you bump into someone, you never even know they existed, and we would not have met this guy and nor would [we] have been able to use the resources that he’s brought, had we not went to Atlanta and been part of the competition.”

Reynolds encourages all rural entrepreneurs to apply.

“I don’t understand why someone wouldn’t do it to be frank. I think a lot of the eyeballs go to the cash, and that’s certainly part of the equation, but the reality is most startups don’t know what they’re doing and they’re operating with a lot of question marks. Going down and being humble with yourself, being humble with others, you get a lot of insight into the industry, you get access to contacts, maybe you get access to a bit of cash, and so I’d really encourage anyone just to take the time, submit a video, get your application in and go from there.”

Launched in 2015, The Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge was the first national business competition of its kind focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs.

Now in their ninth year, the American Farm Bureau Federation in partnership with Farm Credit, are looking to identify the top entrepreneurs who are addressing both traditional challenges farmers face on their operation, such as access to labor, optimizing yield and reducing operating costs, to entrepreneurs who are addressing new challenges facing farmers and rural communities.

Farm Bureau will award $165,000 in startup funds to ten businesses, culminating at a live pitch competition and networking event at the AFBF Convention in January 2023 in San Juan, PR. The Ag Innovation Challenge Winner will be awarded $50,000 in startup funds.

Learn more and apply online at fb.org/challenge.