Drive across rural Iowa any day of the week, and it’s easy to spot evidence of the state’s long legacy of agricultural innovation and entrepreneurship. All over the state, and really all over the world, you’ll see top-quality farm machinery, grain-handling equipment and other products from companies that bear the names of Iowa agricultural innovation legends, such as Vermeer, Sukup, Kinze and Hagie.
In almost every instance, these companies were founded by innovators who found a better way, followed their dreams and eventually built businesses to manufacture their products. Over the years, those Iowa-based companies have helped farmers around the world, while creating jobs and enriching their rural communities.
That spirit of rural innovation is just as strong today in Iowa as it’s ever been. As farmers adopt high-tech precision practices to increase production and care for the environment, Iowan innovators are right there with them.
Want proof? Take a look at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge, the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs. It’s been going on two years and, so far, has been won exclusively by Iowans.
Last year, Scout Pro, an Iowa-based mobile crop scouting and pest identification technology captured top honors in the challenge. This year at the AFBF annual convention in Orlando, AccuGrain of Rose Hill took the top honor. It uses X-ray technology developed at Iowa State University to accurately weigh grain on the go.
A finalist this year was another Iowa-based company, AgriSync of Dallas Center, which has developed a mobile platform to establish video connections between farmers and their advisors, such as crop consultants or mechanics, to quickly find and solve problems.
All three of these rural Iowa start-ups use newly developed technologies to help farmers more efficiently and effectively tackle day-to-day challenges. All three have also received mentoring from Iowa Farm Bureau’s Renew Rural Iowa program, which has helped more than 2,500 rural entrepreneurs start or grow their businesses since it was launched in 2006.
And all three, ScoutPro, AccuGrain and AgriSync are carrying on rural Iowa’s proud tradition of innovation.