Georgia team named semifinalist in AFBF Ag Innovation Challenge
Compiled by Georgia Farm Bureau
The American Farm Bureau Federation, in partnership with Farm Credit, continues its focus on advancing agricultural innovation by supporting start-up business from across the nation. On Sept. 13, AFBF and Farm Credit announced the 10 semi-finalist teams in the 2023 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge.
“The future of agriculture depends on innovative solutions to the challenges that we’re facing today,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “The entrepreneurs behind the start-up companies we’re recognizing are committed to helping rural communities and supporting farmers and ranchers in their mission to provide the food, fuel and fiber we all rely on.”
Georgia-based MycoLogic LLC is one of 10 semifinalist teams being awarded $10,000 each. MycoLogic is a startup spun out of the BioInnovation Laboratory at Kennesaw State University by Drs. Chris Cornelison and Kyle Gabriel that empowers farmers to more profitably grow mushrooms at scale.
MycoLogic’s drop-in solution allows growers to scale their production of specialty mushroom varieties, like Shiitake, Oyster and Lion’s Mane, using embedded systems and proprietary software. The system can be applied to shipping containers or existing infrastructure and facilitates a semiautonomous system for fruiting of specialty mushrooms. Optimized environmental parameters allow users to maximize output by matching conditions to their crop. The company says this technology increases the profitability of existing farms and lowers the barrier for new growers by providing a turn-key solution for increasing the size and frequency of harvests while reducing labor costs.
The Ag Innovation Challenge provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations in agriculture. This is the ninth year of the Challenge, which was the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs launching food and agriculture businesses.
The other semifinalist teams are: Atlantic Aquaculture Technologies (Massachusetts), team lead Daniel Ward; Emgenisys Inc. (Texas), team lead Cara Wells; Hennen Pig Chute (Minnesota) team lead Brad Hennen; NORDEF (Kansas), team lead William Walls; ReEnvision Ag (Iowa), team lead Jayson Ryner; Symbrosia (Hawaii), team lead Alexia Akbay; TrackerSled (Illinois), team lead Lawrence Kearns; TreadSure (Nebraska) team lead Ethan Steinberg; Vence (California), team lead Ben Veres.
The 10 semifinalist teams will compete at the AFBF Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Friday, Jan. 6, to advance to the final round where the four finalist teams will receive an additional $5,000 for a total of $15,000 each. The final four teams will compete live in front of Farm Bureau members, investors and industry representatives on Sunday, Jan. 8, to win three top titles and prizes:
• Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge Winner, for a total of $50,000
• Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge Runner-up, for a total of $20,000
• People’s Choice Team selected by public vote, for an additional $5,000 (all 10 semi-finalist teams compete for this honor)
The top 10 semi-finalist teams will participate in pitch training and mentorship from Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business faculty prior to competing at AFBF’s Convention. In addition, the top 10 semi-finalist teams will have the opportunity to network with industry leaders and venture capital representatives from the USDA’s Rural Business Investment Program.
Farm Bureau would not be able to recognize and support these rural businesses without generous funding provided by sponsors Farm Credit, Bayer Crop Science, John Deere, Farm Bureau Bank and Microsoft.
To learn more about the Challenge visit http://fb.org/challenge.