From edible crickets and customized meat packages to amplifying efforts in sustainability, today’s young farmers are putting forth unique ideas that enhance Iowa’s diverse agricultural portfolio and boost rural communities. To help elevate these businesses, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is seeking applications for their “Grow Your Future” Award for farmer members, ages 18-35, who have created a niche or specialty business. The top three contest winners will receive cash prizes to grow their business with first place taking home $7,500, second place $5,000 and third place $2,500.

“Young farmers continue to ask questions and seek innovation to create new businesses that solve a problem, fill a need or consumer demand. In Iowa agriculture, new ideas are welcome, and there are creative minds out there willing to put them to work to grow Iowa agriculture and rural communities,” said Craig Hill, president of IFBF. “The Grow Your Future Award not only provides a significant monetary prize to help these entrepreneurs expand their business, but the contest is an experience, giving contestants an opportunity to uniquely promote their business and gain valuable skills.”

Online applications are due by Sept. 1, 2021, along with a short contestant-created video about the business, its impact on the local community and future goals. To learn more about eligibility for the Grow Your Future Award and how to enter, visit

Ten finalists will be selected from the submitted applications. A public vote will launch on Dec. 6 during the IFBF annual meeting and run through Dec. 12 to narrow the playing field. The top six “favorite” entrepreneurs that emerge from the voting ring will compete in a pitch-off during the 2022 Young Farmer Conference on Sat., Jan. 29, and the prize-winning top three will be announced.

“The Grow Your Future Award and IFBF’s Young Farmer program presented us a great opportunity to showcase our business and network with other young farmer entrepreneurs with the same passion for rural vitality,” says James Holz whose business, Iowa Cover Crop, was the top finalist in 2021. “The experience and connections made were truly valuable, both personally and professionally, and I highly encourage other young farmers with a business vision to enter the competition.”

The winners of the 2021 contest, in order, were James Holz and Bill Frederick of Iowa Cover Crop, Shae Pesek and Anna Hankins of Over the Moon Farm and Flowers and Ray Schmidt of Farm Story Meats.