Ten semi-finalists announced for the 2019 Ag Innovation Challenge

The 4 finalists for the 2018 Ag Innovation Challenge. SwineTech, was awarded the Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year award. (Photo courtesy of AFBF).

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), in partnership with Farm Credit, has announced the 10 semi-finalist teams in the 2019 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge.

Three of the ten companies to make the semi-finals—Nebullam, Farmland Finder, and Continuum Ag—are based in Iowa. All three of the Iowa-based companies are alumni of the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative at Iowa State University.

In addition, another one of the companies to make the semi-finals, AgHelp Corp, recently took part in the 2018 cohort of the Iowa Agritech Accelerator.

“It’s a pleasure to recognize these 10 outstanding rural businesses,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Recognition of the faith, courage and creativity these entrepreneurs have shown in starting their rural businesses is well-deserved. Startup funds provided to the semi-finalists through the Challenge will help them take their food and agriculture businesses to the next level.”

The 10 semi-finalist teams were awarded $10,000 each.

The final four teams will be announced December 5, will receive an additional $5,000 and will have all expenses paid to compete in a live pitch competition at AFBF’s 100th Annual Convention in New Orleans on January 13.

The final four teams will compete to win one of two awards:

  • Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneur of the Year award and $15,000 (chosen by judges), for a total of $30,000
  • People’s Choice award and $10,000 (chosen by public vote), for a total of $25,000

This is the fifth year of the Challenge. In last year’s competition, 471 entrepreneurs applied, from which AFBF selected four to advance to the final phase of the competition. SwineTech, based in Cedar Rapids was named the winner for its ag technology entry to reduce pig mortality. Hawk Knob of West Virginia, a producer of craft beverages, won the People’s Choice Award.