Rural entrepreneurship got a boost earlier this year when the American Farm Bureau Federation, together with Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business Global Social Enterprise Initiative, launched the first-ever Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge.
More than 200 applicants threw their hats in the ring to compete for prize money, totaling $85,000, to implement their ideas and business innovations. In just a few weeks, the Rural Entrepreneur of the Year and Peoples’ Choice awards will be presented at the AFBF 96th Annual Convention in San Diego.
“Strengthening rural America begins with growing entrepreneurship?business by business,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said. “Helping rural entrepreneurs turn great ideas into successful businesses in their local communities is what this competition is all about.”
After a series of virtual team interviews with 10 semi-finalists in November, judges narrowed the field down to four finalists. As most of us look forward to relaxing with family and friends over the holidays, these finalists are preparing to pitch their business ideas before a team of judges—and a live audience—in San Diego this January. Farm Bureau anticipates a lively round of competition with this strong group of finalists.
Golden Bridges, Inc., serves Northeast Missouri and West Central Illinois, offering customized moving and relocation services. The company specializes in helping seniors transition from farms to more manageable housing in rural America.
Virginia-based Pulaski Grow plans to use aquaponics technology to provide fresh, local produce and fish to the community throughout the year. Within their business, Pulaski Grow will provide training for youth to become innovative employees, managers and entrepreneurs.
Pasturebird, LLC, hails from California and offers a system to produce pastured poultry on a larger scale. Their low-cost method of rotational grazing enables farmers to raise healthy, pastured chicken, while also enriching their land.
ScoutPro, Inc., of Iowa develops and deploys mobile crop scouting software for farmers and crop scouts. Scouts use the software when identifying weeds, insects, diseases and disorders common to corn and soybean production.
The Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge is a key component of the Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative, a joint effort between AFBF and the Georgetown McDonough School of Business. The Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative is directly tied to AFBF’s mission of building strong and prosperous agricultural communities.
Cyndie Sirekis is director of internal communications at the American Farm Bureau Federation.