By Cindy Cloninger
Being a business owner and entrepreneur in rural America holds unique challenges and opportunities. That being said, this diverse group of individuals are uniquely positioned to understand and solve some of the complex challenges facing the food and agriculture industry. Additionally, having the means to market and produce these solutions to a large audience has the potential to provide sustainability to rural communities through much needed employment opportunities.
In 2015 the AFBF introduced The Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. This is the a competition solely for rural food and agriculture businesses. In its first year, the challenge had just 95 applicants and awarded $85,000 in start up funds to 4 rural entrepreneurs.
To compete, currentFarm Bureau members submit their eligible businesses and products that utilize one or more local agriculture product, for food, or can be in the area of production, distribution, marketing, branding, or support services, for the agriculture category.
In this years 2018 competition, over $145,000 was given to recipients in 8 categories with $15,000 each, awarded to the top 4 finalists.
It is the hope of those organizers and affiliates associated with the competition, that small rural business can make a significant contribution to the economic development in the communities in which they live and create a thriving business centered on agriculture needs.
This years competition received 471 applications, up from 350 last year. The selection and application process began for Wild Valley Farms in early May, when acceptance for applications opened for a short one month time period. Applications were then reviewed in July and August with 10 ten applicants selected as award recipients. The 4 best overall teams were named as finalists. The award announcements were made this past October in Washington D.C. where each of the 4 finalists and 6 ‘best in’ recipients received $15,000 respectively.
In addition, participants have been given access to startup funding through opportunities to pitch to investors, feedback from national business experts, venture capital education, networking, and booth space at the American Farm Bureau Convention.
Of note, Wild Valley Farms is the only business to enter from Utah. Wild Valley Farms is dedicated to reducing waste in agriculture and making a difference in the economic sustainability of rural Morgan County.
As a finalist, Wild Valley Farms has a chance to take wool pellets and head to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention on January 7, 2018 in Nashville Tennessee to compete for an additional $15,000 of start up funds.
Don’t miss this chance to vote for Wild Valley Farms!
What you can do? Vote of January 7th
Farm Bureau has given people nationwide the opportunity to help select the winners. All you have to do is log on to https://fbchallengechoiceaward.questionpro.com on January, 7 2018 and cast your vote in support of Wild Valley Farms.
Check out the other amazing entrants in the showcase gallery. If you’re interested in attending you can find out details at convention events page.
Virtual Assistant, blog manager, email & social media marketing assistant, web development. I enjoy hiking, fresh fruits & veggies, planting flowers, cooking great meals. But I love being a wife and mother the most. When I'm not doing all of those, I love to read and try new things. No matter the forecast, live like it's spring.