Top 10 Rural Entrepreneurs Announced

Cindy ZimmermanAFBF

fb-rural-challenge-17The top ten teams in the 2017 Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge have been announced, with the top four to compete for the title of Rural Entrepreneur of the Year at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) annual convention in January.

“Entrepreneurship is alive and well in rural America,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “It’s a pleasure to recognize these 10 outstanding businesses. The FB Challenge addresses some of the unique obstacles entrepreneurs typically face, namely, limited options for support such as startup funding.”

The four finalists and six semi-finalists were chosen from a total of 356 applicants. Six semi-finalists in the competition were awarded $10,000 each, thanks to the sponsorship of Farm Credit, and the final four teams were each awarded $15,000 and will advance to the next phase of the challenge.

The final four are:

Grow Bioplastics LLC of Knoxville, Tennessee – ag tech entry. Renewable, biodegradable products that eliminate oil-based plastics for farmers, greenhouse and nursery managers, and home gardeners.

Levrack LLC, of Seward, Nebraska – support services entry. An efficient and orderly solution to reduce clutter in farm shops.

Vertical Harvest Hydroponics of Anchorage, Alaska – farm/ranch entry. Turnkey, hydroponic vegetable production facilities inside 40-foot-long insulated shipping containers.

Windcall Manufacturing Inc., of Venango, Nebraska – ag tech entry. Grain Goat, a battery powered, hand-held combine for sampling moisture content of grain.

The challenge, now in its third year, provides opportunities for individuals to showcase business innovations being developed in rural communities throughout the U.S. It is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses.