Five finalists for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s 2022 Grow Your Future Award have been announced ahead of voting set to start next week.
Public voting, to be held Dec. 6-12, will winnow this group to three finalists who will compete for cash prizes in a pitch-off at IFBF's 2022 Young Farmer Conference in January.
The 2022 final five are:
• Beringer Family Farms Beef (BFF Beef) of Cascade, which offers direct-to-consumer beef sales from their own herd. BFF Beef is owned and run by Jones County Farm Bureau member Lillie Beringer.
• Holland Flower Farm of Sioux Center, which offers a variety of flowers to the public during the growing season. Holland Flower Farm is owned and run by Sioux County Farm Bureau member Jade Moret.
• Hungry Canyon Design of Correctionville, which offers agriculturally accurate greeting cards and gifts. Hungry Canyon Design is co-owned and managed by Woodbury County Farm Bureau member Melissa Nelson, with help from her husband, Mark.
• Pleasant Grove Homestead of Montezuma, which offers a variety of farm-fresh products, including produce, meat and honey, for pick-up or delivery. Pleasant Grove Homestead is owned and managed by Poweshiek County Farm Bureau members Ashley and Zach Wenke.
• Reconnected Farms of Dorchester, which offers several varieties of mushrooms to area businesses and restaurants, as well as direct to the public sales at farmers markets. Reconnected Farms is owned and run by Allamakee County Farm Bureau member Tanner Sanness.
The Grow Your Future program, now in its third year, aims to highlight businesses from Iowa’s young farmers. Contestants for the Grow Your Future Award must be between 18 and 35 years of age.
Promoting their products
“The Grow Your Future Award offers young farmers the opportunity to promote what they’re already doing on their farm,” said Amanda Van Steenwyk, IFBF farm business development manager, who oversees the program. “Feedback we’ve received from past participants is they really appreciate the learning opportunity Grow Your Future provides and the opportunity to showcase their business on a statewide platform.”
Participants are encouraged to promote the voting period to their fans and friends on social media, to gain votes in hopes of making one of the top three spots.
With three prizes available, “if you make it to the pitch-off, you’re guaranteed to win money,” Van Steenwyk said. First prize is $7,500, second is $5,000 and third prize is $2,500.
Pitch-off in January
The pitch-off will take place during the IFBF Young Farmers Conference in January. Ahead of that, Van Steenwyk offers coaching and practice time to participants. “We really want to set them up for success,” she said.
The final order of winners will be decided by a combination of judges' scores and audience votes at the conference.
“The quality of applicants we had was amazing again this year,” Van Steenwyk said. “No matter who is in the top three, each of these finalists are already winners because of the work they’re doing with their business.”