The word “entrepreneurship” typically evokes images of Silicon Valley tech startups, food delivery services, ridesharing apps that aid commuters…the list goes on. What’s the common thread? Entrepreneurship makes us think urban. While entrepreneurs often capitalize on the needs of urban centers, innovation is critical to the growth and vitality of rural communities as well, especially when it comes to agriculture. 

Recognizing that owners of rural business startups face different challenges compared to their urban counterparts, such as limited access to broadband and high transportation costs coupled with a lack of business networks, Farm Credit and AFBF have partnered for several years to help remove those barriers.

The two organizations are doing this through a competition – now known as the Ag Innovation Challenge – that focuses exclusively on rural entrepreneurs. Through the challenge, innovative food and agriculture entrepreneurs compete for $145,000 in startup funds. Farm Credit has partnered with AFBF to support these bright minds since the first competition in 2015. Entries for the 2019 competition are now being accepted at