Three Iowa agricultural entrepreneur teams are among the 10 semi-finalists for the 2020 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge, which will be held in January at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) annual convention in Austin, Texas.
Iowa’s strong representation in the 2020 ag entrepreneur contest, which showcases ideas and business innovations in agriculture, continues the strong showing by ag entrepreneurs in the state. Teams from Iowa have won top honors in the AFBF contest in four of the five years it has been held.
The Iowa entrepreneurs in the top 10 for the 2020 Ag Innovation Challenge are:
• Rantizo, an Iowa City company that is pioneering the use of drones to spray crops. Led by Michael Ott, Rantizo’s technology allows farmers to more precisely deliver chemicals to their fields.
• SwineSentinel, which uses artificial intelligence and smart cameras to help swine producers monitor performance and animal well-being. The Ames-based company is led by B.J. Brugman.
• Tractor Zoom of Waukee, which lists farm machinery auctions and its inventory on the internet in a searchable database. The team is led by Kyle McMahon.
The AFBF ag entrepreneur contest, which is co-sponsored by Farm Credit, awarded each of the semi-finalist teams $10,000. The contest will also pay for the teams to travel to the AFBF’s convention to compete in a live competition for the Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year.
From the 10 semi-finalists, four will be selected to receive an additional $5,000 and compete live on stage in front of Farm Bureau members, investors and industry representatives.
The winner of the Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year Award, which will be chosen by judges, will receive an additional $15,000. The People’s Choice award, chosen by public vote, will receive an additional $10,000.
“These hard-working entrepreneurs have demonstrated their commitment to take on some of the biggest challenges in agriculture. Their innovation will help American farmers continue to grow healthy, affordable products for consumers,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “It’s a pleasure to recognize and award these outstanding businesses to help them deliver solutions that will drive U.S. agriculture forward.”
Additional sponsors for the contest are Bayer Crop Science, John Deere, Country Financial, Farm Bureau Financial Services and Farm Bureau Bank.