2018 Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge accepting applications to help rural businesses

Published: May. 9, 2017 at 10:20 AM CDT
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Farm Bureau’s Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge is now accepting applications from entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses.

A total of 10 teams are selected for the 2018 Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge, four finalists and six semi-finalists.

These business owners compete for a share of $145,000 of startup funds.

The Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge is the first national business competition focused exclusively on helping rural entrepreneurs overcome hurdles they face.

Last year two Nebraska start-up businesses were selected as finalists’ in this competition. Levrack in Seward and Windcall Manufacturing, Inc., in Venango.

Members of the public participated in a live-streamed of the event finals and voted online to select the People’s Choice Award, which was given to Levrack along with an additional $10,000.

“This is a wonderful program that really helps rural entrepreneurs,” Audrey Schipporeit, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s director of generational engagement, said.

“Rural entrepreneurs typically face unique challenges including limited options for startup funding, which Farm Bureau aims to address through the challenge. Farm Bureau is focused on elevating rural entrepreneurs, their ideas, and their skills to make good things happen in rural areas,” Schipporeit said.

Applications for the challenge opened May 1 and will be accepted until June 30. The finalist will compete during the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Annual Convention in Nashville, Tenn., for a chance to win an additional $15,000 in prize money, courtesy of sponsor Farm Bureau Bank.

After a live-stream of the event, members of the public will be invited to vote online for the People’s Choice Award, which gives an additional $10,000 in start-up funds.

For more information about the AFBF Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge contact Audrey Schipporeit at

The Nebraska Farm Bureau is a grassroots, state-wide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service and advocacy efforts.

More than 61,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy.

For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, click