Terms & Conditions

Welcome to the Farm Bureau® Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge (the “Challenge”), administered by the American Farm Bureau Federation (“AFBF”). 

Your entry into the Farm Bureau® Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge is deemed acceptance of these Terms & Conditions by each individual currently involved with the business represented (each or together, an “Applicant”).  In the event that a winner of any prize level fails to satisfy any of the eligibility requirements and/or Terms & Conditions, that prize winner shall not be entitled to the prize and the prize may be awarded to another eligible entrant, or the prize may not be awarded, at AFBF’s sole discretion. 



  1. The Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge is open to all state and county Farm Bureau members over the age of 18 and legal residents of the United States at the time of entry. Employees of AFBF and its affiliated companies are not eligible. VOID where prohibited.

  2. All businesses entered into the Challenge must be for-profit. Non-profit businesses are not eligible.  

  3. At least one member of your business team must be available to attend and participate in the Top Ten Challenge event in October 2017 in Washington, DC and the live competition and awards ceremony held at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in January 2018. 


  1. If you are chosen as a Top Ten award winner, you agree to:

    • Create one blog post (1/2 page with 2-3 photos) detailing how the Challenge helped your rural business. The blog post will be featured on the American Farm Bureau Voice of Agriculture website and the StrongRuralAmerica.com website. American Farm Bureau Federation supports farmers and ranchers from a wide range of production practices and philosophies. Blog posts should refrain from defamatory language which casts certain production practices in a negative light, and AFBF reserves the right not to post any blog which it determines, in its sole discretion, does not meet this standard.

    • Participate in interviews with media at the local, state and national levels. Note: American Farm Bureau Federation supports farmers and ranchers from a wide range of production practices and philosophies. Finalists should refrain from defamatory language which casts certain production practices in a negative light during these interviews.

  2. In addition, if you are a Finalist you agree to:

    • Attend the AFBF Annual Convention in January 2018. Finalists will compete in a live presentation and question and answer session in a public venue, and participate in an awards ceremony.  Airfare or car rental, meals and hotel for up to two team members will be paid by AFBF.

    • Participate in interviews before the Convention, during the Convention and following the Convention (at the convenience of the participant) with American Farm Bureau reporters and other Farm Bureau staff.


To apply for the Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge, please complete the application by the deadline posted.


  • One (1) winner will be selected to receive the Entrepreneur of the Year Award and $30,000 in prize money.

  • One (1) winner will be selected to receive the People’s Choice Award and $25,000 in prize money.

  • Two (2) winners will be selected as Finalist Runner-ups and will receive $15,000 in prize money.

  • One (1) winner will be selected as the Best Farm Startup and receive $10,000 in prize money.

  • One (1) winner will be selected as the Best Local Product Startup and receive $10,000 in prize money.

  • One (1) winner will be selected as the Best Agritourism Startup and receive $10,000 in prize money.

  • One (1) winner will be selected as the Best Farm-to-Table Startup and receive $10,000 in prize money.

  • One (1) winner will be selected as the Best Ag Tech & Support Services Startup and receive $10,000 in prize money.

  • One (1) winner will be selected as the Best Craft Beverage Startup and receive $10,000 in prize money.

  • Note: The Entrepreneur of the Year and People's Choice awards and the associated prize money will be awarded to two different teams. If the same team is awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year award by judges and receives the most public votes for the People's Choice award, then the People's Choice award and associated prize money will go to the team with the second most public votes.


The Challenge consists of two rounds.

In Round 1, Applicants submit their online applications through the Challenge website.  The judges review the applications, and select the Top Ten teams. The best overall teams will be named the four finalists. The best teams in each category (i.e., farm, agritourism, farm-to-table) will be awarded "best in show" awards. Finalists will travel to the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention to compete in a live competition.

In Round 2, the four Finalists will compete in the live event in front of a team of judges and live audience at the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention. The four Finalists will compete for the Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year award and $30,000 ($15,000 finalist award and an additinal $15,000), and the People's Choice award and $25,000 ($15,000 finalist award and an additional $10,000). The two runner-up teams will each receive $15,000. The winners will be announced during the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention. 

Information regarding each of the announcements will be available at StrongRuralAmerica.com.  Decisions of the judges are final.


All prize money is taxable, and payment of the applicable taxes is the sole responsibility of the winner. 


  1. Challenge Application.  Information contained in the Challenge Application forms part of the Challenge Terms and Conditions.

  2. Entry is Acceptance of all Terms and Conditions.  Entry into the Challenge constitutes unconditional agreement to and acceptance of the Terms and Conditions.  The Applicant is responsible for ensuring his or her familiarity with the Terms and Conditions. 

  3. Originality of the Work Submitted.  The materials submitted via the Challenge Application shall be the original work of the Applicant.  Applicant is not under any agreement or restriction which prohibits or restricts his or her ability to disclose or submit the ideas of the concepts in the materials to the Challenge. 

  4. Use of Materials/Privacy

  • All Applications will be submitted via a secure website utilizing industry ­standard physical, electronic, and managerial safeguards to prevent unauthorized access to and disclosure of Applicant data, including but not limited to, the security of the physical environment in which the data is stored, processed, and transmitted.

  • Applicants acknowledge and agree that the following materials submitted by Applicants will be used in the promotion of the Challenge and will be displayed on public webpage(s) showcasing the Challenge and the Applicants:

  1. Names and company name

  2. Location (city, county, state)

  3. Length of Time (your business has been in operation)

  4. Development stage of your business

  5. Company description

  6. Impact on a U.S. rural community

  7. Background information

  8. How you will use $30,000 Challenge award

  9. Picture

  10. Video

Note: Contact information (email, phone) will only be used by AFBF staff to contact Applicant for purposes related to the Challenge.

  • The following materials submitted by Applicants that will remain confidential. It will be used solely by AFBF staff in the management of the competition and by the judges for scoring purposes.  

  1. Target customer

  2. Customer problem you're solving

  3. Competitors

  4. Co-founder information

  5. Distribution channels

  6. Plan to increase revenue

  7. Financial projections

  8. Biggest challenge

  9. Long-term goal

8. Intellectual Property

  1. AFBF has taken reasonable measures to ensure that all Applicants retain rights to their business plans and any associated intellectual property. Judges sign confidentiality agreements which extend for five (5) years after the public announcement of the winners of the Challenge. Copies of these confidentiality agreements are available from AFBF upon request.  AFBF cannot and does not take any further responsibility to protect the intellectual or other rights of the Applicants. 

  2. The protection of intellectual property rights is the ultimate responsibility of each Applicant.  Applicants are urged to mark as CONFIDENTIAL any portion of their entry which they consider to be confidential.  Applicants should be careful about disclosing patentable concepts in their entries, as patent applications in the United States must be filed within one year of initial public disclosure.

  3. Applicant understands and agrees that although AFBF has taken and will take the steps described herein to protect the confidentiality of the ideas and plans submitted by the Applicants, the legal protection of the ideas and plans submitted by the Applicant to the Challenge is the sole responsibility of the Applicant. 

  4. Applicant understands that AFBF, each of the sponsors, judges and mentors and its directors, officers, employees and consultants (collectively, the “Challenge Officials”) are under no obligation to render any advice or service to any Applicant. The views expressed by any Challenge Officials are their own and not those of AFBF or any person or entity for whom they work or with which they are associated.

9. Release.  In consideration of the time, expertise and other resources provided by AFBF and the Challenge Officials, the Applicant, to the full extent permit by law, hereby voluntarily releases AFBF and each Challenge Official from any and all claims, actions, damages, costs or liabilities of any kind relating to or arising out of Applicant’s application for and/or participation in the Challenge. By accepting a prize, winners agree to release AFBF and the Challenge Officials from any and all liability, loss or damages arising from or in connection with the awarding, advertising, receipt, and/or use or misuse of prize or participation in any prize-related activities.

10. License.  By entering the Challenge, Applicant represents that he or she has all right to grant, and does hereby grant AFBF and its affiliates a royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual, non-exclusive license to non-confidential materials submitted through the Challenge application. AFBF may use, publish, display, distribute, reproduce, edit, adapt and create derivative works from the non-confidential portion of the application in whole or in part, in any media now known or hereafter discovered, including in use on websites, in publications and for promotional purposes, without compensation or prior notice to the Applicant, his or her successors or assigns, or any other entity.


11. Online Entries.  AFBF shall not be responsible for incorrect or inaccurate transcription of entry information, technical malfunctions, lost/delayed data transmission, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, line failures of any telephone network, computer equipment, software, inability to access any online service or website, inability to submit the online entry form, or any other error or malfunction, or any injury or damage to Applicant’s or any other person’s computer related to or resulting from participation or downloading any materials in the Challenge, or for late, lost, stolen, postage due, illegible or misdirected entries. If this Challenge or any website associated therewith (or any portion thereof) becomes corrupted or otherwise does not permit entry in the Challenge, or if infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, actions by entrants, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes, in AFBF’s sole opinion, corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper operation of the Challenge, AFBF reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any entrant implicated in such action, and/or to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend this Challenge or any portion thereof.