There’s been a change to the Finalist Teams in the 2023 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge. AFBF and Farm Credit announced that the California-based Vence was acquired by another company and no longer qualifies for the competition. Iowa-based ChopLocal — an online farmers market for meat where customers can buy directly from farmers and butcher shops — is now one of the 10 semi-finalist teams.
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“We congratulate the owners of Vence and wish them all the best as they move forward with this exciting opportunity,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Recognizing entrepreneurs who are committed to helping rural communities and supporting farmers and ranchers in their mission to provide the food, fuel and fiber we all rely on remains a cornerstone of the Ag Innovation Challenge.”
The competition provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations in agriculture. This is the ninth year of the Challenge, which was the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs launching food and agriculture businesses.
The updated list of 10 semi-finalist teams each awarded $10,000 is below:
- Atlantic Aquaculture Technologies, Massachusetts. Team lead: Daniel Ward
- ChopLocal, Iowa. Team lead: Katie Olthoff
- EmGenisys Inc., Texas. Team lead: Cara Wells
- Hennen Pig Chute, Minnesota. Team lead: Brad Hennen
- MycoLogic LLC, Georgia. Team lead: Chris Cornelison
- NORDEF, Kansas. Team lead: William Walls
- ReEnvision Ag, Iowa. Team lead: Jayson Ryner
- Symbrosia, Hawaii. Team lead: Alexia Akbay
- TrackerSled, Illinois. Team lead: Lawrence Kearns
- TreadSure, Nebraska. Team lead: Preston Parmley
The 10 semi-finalist teams will compete at the AFBF Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Friday, Jan. 6, to advance to the final round where the four finalist teams will receive an additional $5,000 for a total of $15,000 each. The final four teams will compete live in front of Farm Bureau members, investors and industry representatives on Sunday, Jan. 8, to win three top titles and prizes:
- Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge Winner, for a total of $50,000
- Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge Runner-up, for a total of $20,000
- People’s Choice Team selected by public vote, for an additional $5,000 (all 10 semi-finalist teams compete for this honor)
The top 10 semi-finalist teams will participate in pitch training and mentorship from Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business faculty prior to competing at AFBF’s Convention. In addition, the top 10 semi-finalist teams will have the opportunity to network with industry leaders and venture capital representatives from the Agriculture Department’s Rural Business Investment Program.