2017 Winners & Judges

In the third year of the Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge, American Farm Bureau received 359 applications from entrepreneurs in 32 states (more than double the number of apps we received the previous year). We awarded $145,000 in startup funds to 10 rural entrepreneurs. The grand prize winner was a team of military veteran entrepreneurs from Anchorage, Alaska.

Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year
Vertical Harvest Hydroponics ($30,000 prize)
Linda Janes & Dan Perpich
Anchorage, Alaska

People's Choice Winner
Levrack ($25,000 prize)
Ryan Stauffer & Austin Stauffer
Seward, Nebraska

Finalist
Grow Bioplastics ($15,000 prize)
Tony Bova & Jeff Beegle
Knoxville, Tennessee

Finalist
Windcall Manufacturing, Inc. with GrainGoat ($15,000 prize)
Martin Bremmer & Patritica Bremmer
Venango, Nebraska

Semi-Finalist
Demeter, Inc. ($10,000 prize)
Dr. Terry Hofecker & Bruce Kane
Irwon, Ohio

Semi-Finalist
Farmzie ($10,000 prize)
Griffe Youngleson & Tim Will
Raleigh, North Carolina

Semi-Finalist
Gardens 4 Education ($10,000 prize)
Jeannie Williams
Hanford, California

Semi-Finalist
Inland Sea ($10,000 prize)
Jackson Kimle
Ames, Iowa

Semi-Finalist
Lowcountry Street Grocery ($10,000 prize)
Lindsey Barrow, Jr. & Kate DeWitt
Charleston, South Carolina

Semi-Finalist
Performance Livestock Analytics ($10,000 prize)
Dustin Balsley & Dane Kuper
Osage, Iowa

Judges

Dave Dornbirer
Vice President
Public/Private Partnerships
CoBank

Justin Renfro
Program Manager
Kiva.org

Dr. Ed Rister
Professor & Associate Department Head
Department of Agricultural Economics
Texas A&M University

Nathan Tacha
Vice President
Commerical Information Officer
Bank of America