Congratulations to the Levrack team of Ryan and Austin Stauffer and Peter Miller of Seward and Windcall Manufacturing, led by Martin Bremmer of Venago, for participating in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. These two entrepreneurial teams were part of the final four to compete for Farm Bureau’s Entrepreneur of the Year by pitching their business ideas to a panel of judges before a live audience. The four finalists each received $15,000 in October for advancing in the competition.
The Levrack team won the People’s Choice award in the competition and an additional $10,000 in prize money. They garnered 73 percent of the vote, when members of the live audience at the finals competition and members of the general public voted online to select the People’s Choice winner. Levrack produces efficient storage systems for farm shops. Bremmer’s business, Windcall Manufacturing, Inc., designed a product called the GrainGoat, a hand-held harvester that collects, cleans, and calculates the moisture of small grains all within minutes.
“We are proud of our Nebraska entrepreneurs and we are excited about the participation in this program from Nebraska innovators. We look forward to this program opening new doors for other rural entrepreneurs. This national competition is a great way to connect people with great ideas to financial and mentorships opportunities, to support rural businesses that will strengthen rural communities in Nebraska,” Audrey Smith, director of generational engagement said Jan. 9.
American Farm Bureau Federation’s entrepreneur winner was Vertical Harvest Hydroponics of Alaska. The team was led by Linda Janes and Dan Perpich. AFBF announced the winner at its 2017 Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show in Phoenix. Janes and Perpich took home a total of $30,000 in prize money, including $15,000 from sponsor Farm Bureau Bank to produce hydroponic vegetables housed in 40’ insulated shipping containers.
Grow Bioplastics of Tennessee, led by Tony Bova, was the other finalists who competed in the final round of the challenge in Phoenix.
The challenge, now in its third year, provides opportunities for individuals to showcase business innovations being developed in rural regions of the U.S. It is the first national business
competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses. The top challenge teams were selected by 40 judges with expertise in business development, equity investment funding management, agribusiness lending, and entrepreneurial coaching.
For more information about the AFBF Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge contact Audrey Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.