Applicants in the American Farm Bureau Federation‘s (AFBF) 2018 Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge include 21 Florida enterprises.
The national competition, held annually, will award a total of $145,000 for innovative rural businesses. The money will be used to support the winners’ forward-looking business ideas.
According to Lisa Benson, AFBF’s director of rural development, the outside judges who review the applications consider a range of agricultural and food-related business activities, from production to marketing. “This program is a way to help rural business owners get started,” she said.
The winner of the top award, Entrepreneur of the Year, receives $30,000; the People’s Choice Award winner receives $25,000; two runner-ups get $15,000 each; and six other competitors earn $10,000 each.
The 21 Florida applicants, their cities and their categories are:
1) Andalusia Cattle Co. and Wagon Tails Ranch Rides; Bunnell; agritourism
2) Dutch Mill Nursery; Sanford; local product
3) Smith Family Ranch; Lakeland; agritourism
4) Brewification.com; Tallahassee; craft beverage
5) Live Advantage Bait; Jupiter; farm
6) Alvarez Farms; Raiford; farm-to-table
7) Smith Agricultural Enterprises; Sebring; farm
8) Smith Family Poultry Farm; Palmetto; farm-to-table
9) Sokol Vineyards; Morriston; farm
10) Integral Aquaculture Services; Tavernier; farm-to-table
11) Gulf Coast Tung Oil; Tallahassee; local product
12) Positively Berries; Tampa; local product
13) ANA Ranch; Myakka City; farm-to-table
14) Christian J. Ramthun Inc.; Tampa; local product
15) Denney Farms; Dade City; farm
16) Grocery Hound; Fort Myers; farm-to-table
17) Phillips Bee Farm; Ocala; farm
18) Skoog’s Sheep and Cattle Co.; Citrus Springs; farm
19) Southern Farms; Live Oak; farm
20) Two Frog Farm; Quincy; farm
21) Wimauma Roots; Wimauma; local product
Winners will be announced in October. The 10 winners nationwide in the Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge also can participate in the Agriculture Investment Summit, which connects rural entrepreneurs with representatives of venture-capital funds. The summit will be part of the 2018 American Farm Bureau Foundation Convention, set for January.
For more information about the American Farm Bureau Foundation, visit agfoundation.org.