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.
By Cindy Cloninger
Since Wild Valley Farms created wool pellets in 2016, we have been crisscrossing the country trying to get the word out about these gardening superheroes. Life on the road to success has taken owner, Albert Wilde far from the headquarters of Wild Valley Farms in the rural town of Croydon, Utah.
Albert has represented Wild Valley Farms and educated 1000’s of investors, fellow entrepreneurs, and retail owners about the powerhouse punch that comes packaged in an unlikely source, wool pellets.
The year kicked off with attendance at an investment summit in Phoenix, Arizona. This ‘shark tank’-like event was sponsored by the Farm Bureau and was specifically designed as a launching point for agriculture enterprises where participants were given the opportunity to pitch to investors in the lawn and garden agriculture industry.
From there, wool pellets took their story to the Lone Star state to a packed audience. Speaking to investors in Dallas in June at the Gro Group Albert explained,
We've developed a product that is a natural organic fertilizer that will fertilize for a whole season, and it’ll retain water, reducing the amount of watering by about 25%, and it’s made from waste wool from sheep.
Gro Group is a unique organization that seeks to match manufacturers and distributors in the lawn and garden industry in partnerships that will help to introduce and promote new products.
This event served as a preliminary entry into the annual Arett Home & Garden Trade Show. In September, Albert gathered with 400 other vendors in Atlantic City for the 3 day event. The Arett trade show is the largest independent garden distribution show on the east coast. This show has proved valuable to getting wool pellets into garden centers in that region. Look for more information to come soon.
Albert furthered the expansion of this wooly growth all the way to British Columbia this past October. Where he told distributors there,
Wool pellets expand not only holding necessary water for your plants, but increasing soil porosity for optimal root growth. They are all organic, sustainable, and renewable, and will naturally release a slow fertilizer with a value of 9-0-2 NPK.
As Albert has taken wool pellets to pastures unknown, like you, new listeners have been intrigued and wowed with the innovation and complex benefits that this new and exciting gardening breakthrough offers. The excitement has been palpable as the buzz generated traveled across the nation. Garden centers across the United States and Western Canada have picked up wool pellets in their search for new products to offer in wide distribution to their customers. See a list of retailers carrying wool pellets on our Retailers page on the Wild Valley Farms website.
Wild Valley Farms was honored as one the 4 finalists for the innovative gardening product, wool pellets, this past October in Washington D.C. in the 2018 Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. Over $145,000 was given to recipients in 8 categories. Wild Valley Farms is honored to be the recipient of $15,000 of start up funds and hopes to earn and an additional $15,000 as they move on to compete at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention on January 7, 2018 in Nashville Tennessee.
Individuals have the unique opportunity to cast their vote online at https://fbchallengechoiceaward.questionpro.com on January, 7th only. Wild Valley Farms hopes to continue the growth and expansion of wool pellets with these funds to offer further availability and saturation in the retail marketplace.
We have a huge potential for growth, and we have some very large companies that are looking to license our product that’ll put it out to a wide distribution for consumers.
In this fun and good natured competition, teams were directed to make boats from cardboard and other materials that would then race down the river from the high school to the Riverside park a short distance of approximately a quarter mile. A precarious journey on forged cardboard to be sure. Participants and winners first showed off their nautical worthy designs in a parade through town that morning. Local businesses, Travers Tours & Travel, Bridget Larsen’s Outside the Lines interior design company, along with others, joined in the fun creating teams, then floating and sometimes sinking their way to the finish line. In addition to bragging rights, cash prizes were won by contestants with $200 going to the winning team.
Wild Valley farms is rooted in their community and grounded by the goodness and character fostered by it’s residents. We strive for excellence in our products and our business mindset. This detailed care and notice of every aspect within our sphere of impact, is what led to the innovation of wool pellets being derived from what is most commonly waste wool. We care about our community, we care about our sheep, we care about our products and our customers.
Solving gardening and agriculture problems has driven Albert in the creation of wool pellets and the development of some new and exciting products to be released in early 2018.
NutriWool Pots - these unique containers are made from recycled wool felt and are able to insulate the root zone from hot and cold temperatures as well as allow the root zones to “breathe”. The tight wool felt will absorb and hold water in the root zone but will not let the water pass through, keeping the outside of the pot dry. Plant directly in them. Look for these to be available in January.
Benefits of NutriWool Pots:
Want to be the first to know when these new products are available? Sign up by clicking on the picture below or HERE
Check our Healthy Gardening Blog for other stories and more in the series Meet Wild Valley Farms - Who Are We? Other blog series coming this year include topics on planning your garden, planting & pruning, along with all the important things you need to know to prepare your soil for the best blooms and harvest.
By Cindy Cloninger
After stomping off the clumps of snow from your boots, removing the layers of outerwear, and still feeling cold, there isn’t a more beautiful sight than seeing a little bit of warm weather in the blooms of summer and spring. I’m talking about those vibrant colors and rich fragrances that come from forcing bulbs.
Forcing bulbs that normally bloom in spring and summer months into an early bloom has been done for years. Forcing might not be the right word for the kind of imagery that we are trying to invoke here. It’s more like tricking the bulbs into thinking they’ve had a nice cold winter.
There are two kinds of bulbs that can be forced
The first type don’t have to be ‘wintered’ at all as they naturally come from warmer tropical climates. These are specifically the Amaryllis and Paperwhites. That means you can have flowers in as little as 3-5 weeks! Which is a major plus if, like me, your life is too hectic to often think months ahead.
The second group need to experience a ‘winter’ so to speak. This variety of bulbs will need to be chilled at around 40 degrees. The time frame varies depending on the individual flower type (see the chart & images below).
Warm weather Non-chilling Bulbs
Easy Peasy! That’s why these make such great holiday gifts! Use a bag of our terra zest and mix in some wool pellets and you’ll have thriving plants that will do well in an arid house using a heater.
Easytogrowbulbs.com has this great how-to video on Paperwhites. Check out their great online store for a large variety of bulbs.
Cold weather bulbs
As in life, Chill for best results
When it comes to forcing bulbs we often think of the larger varieties like tulips and amaryllis, but crocuses and grape hyanciths are able to be forced as well. Try layering the larger bulbs underneath some of the smaller ones for an indoor planter bursting with blooms.
Check out this great little video for a step by step look at how this processes goes.
Caring for your holiday poinsettias