ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Farm Bureau Federation has announced an ag technology entry as the Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year as part of its Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. The winner was announced at AFBF's 97th Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show.
AccuGrain of Rose Hill, Iowa, team lead Ryan Augustine, was selected from a field of four finalists and received a total of $30,000 in prize money to implement his business idea, which is X-ray technology to inventory flowing grain in real time.
Garnering 49 percent of the vote, Farm Specific Technology of Bolivar, Tennessee, team lead Shawn Butler, won the People's Choice award in the competition and an additional $10,000 in prize money for a no-till crimper for cover crop production. Members of the live audience at the finals competition and members of the general public voted online to select the People's Choice winner. Tennessee residents cast the most votes (1,229) followed by Iowa (1,068) and Kansas (205).
AgriSync of Dallas Center, Iowa, team lead Casey Niemann, and Fedora Malthouse of Shepherd, Michigan, team lead Julie Baker, were the other two finalists who competed in the final round of the challenge in Orlando.
"Congratulations to all the finalists! We wish them well in their future business endeavors," AFBF President Bob Stallman said. "We are pleased to be growing the Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge by providing more startup funding and mentorship opportunities for entrepreneurs."
The final four teams competed for the award by pitching their business ideas to a panel of judges before a live audience. The finalist businesses were chosen from 165 applicants. In addition to the prize money awarded at the convention, each of the four national finalists received $15,000 in October for advancing in the competition
The challenge, now in its second year, provides opportunities for individuals to showcase business innovations being developed in rural regions of the U.S. It is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses. The top challenge teams were selected by 40 judges with expertise in business development, equity investment funding management, agribusiness lending and entrepreneurial coaching.
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SOURCE American Farm Bureau Federation