WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Farm Bureau Federation today announced the top 10 teams – four finalists and six semi-finalists – in the 2017 Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. The challenge provides opportunities for individuals to showcase business innovations being developed in rural communities throughout the U.S.
"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."
Each final four team was awarded $15,000. They are:
- Grow Bioplastics LLC, Knoxville, Tennessee. Renewable, biodegradable products that eliminate oil-based plastics for farmers, greenhouse and nursery managers, and home gardeners.
- Levrack LLC, Seward, Nebraska. An efficient and orderly solution to reduce clutter in farm shops.
- Vertical Harvest Hydroponics, Anchorage, Alaska. Turnkey, hydroponic vegetable production facilities inside 40-foot-long insulated shipping containers.
- Windcall Manufacturing Inc., Venango, Nebraska. Grain Goat, a battery powered, hand-held combine for sampling moisture content of grain.
Semi-finalists were awarded $10,000 each, thanks to sponsor Farm Credit. They are:
- Demeter Inc., Irwin, Ohio. Low-cost precision agriculture software and sensor systems derived from rugged, field-tested military technologies.
- Farmzie, Raleigh, North Carolina. Marketing tools, payment processing and reporting systems to help small farmers access local markets.
- Gardens 4 Education, Hanford, California. Tomato garden kits for schools as a healthy alternative to cookie and candy fundraisers.
- Inland Sea Company LLC, Ames, Iowa. Sustainable salmon production system that features consistent weekly harvest and takes advantage of economies of scale.
- Lowcountry Street Grocery, Charleston, South Carolina. Community-supported mobile farmers' market that delivers local, farm-fresh, healthy food and provides nutrition education.
- Performance Livestock Analytics Inc., Osage, Iowa. Data-driven, real-time farm management and analytics systems for precision livestock operations.
The final four teams will pitch their business ideas to a team of judges in front of a live audience at AFBF's 98th Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show in Phoenix on Jan. 8, 2017. They'll compete for the Rural Entrepreneur of the Year Award and an additional $15,000 in prize money, courtesy of sponsor Farm Bureau Bank.
The top 10 challenge teams were selected by 15 judges with expertise in business development, agribusiness lending and entrepreneurial coaching.
Learn more at http://www.fb.org/programs/ruraldevelopment/challenge/.
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SOURCE American Farm Bureau Federation