Garnered $15K in Semi-final Round

FarmSpec students

Students from the University of Tennessee College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and UT Martin are competing in the final round of the Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge, a national competition for food and agricultural Businesses. Shown are 
CASNR graduate students Austin Scott (foreground) and Shawn Butler (center), along with UT Martin student Daniel Wiggins. Together through their company FarmSpec, they developed a patent-pending technology that claims to more effectively terminate cover crops, therefore saving farmers money. Photo by G. Rowsey, courtesy UTIA. Download image

 


Update (1/11/2016):  Although AccuGrain of Rose Hill, Iowa, won the overall Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge, the UT students' company, Farm Specific Technology, won the People's Choice Award and an additional $10,000 in prize money. See the announcement from the American Farm Bureau Federation.

A team of students from the University of Tennessee College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) in Knoxville and the UT Martin College of Agricultural and Applied Sciences placed in the top four in the Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge, a national competition for food and agricultural businesses.

CASNR graduate students Shawn Butler and Austin Scott, along with UT Martin student Daniel Wiggins, developed a patent-pending technology that claims to more effectively terminate cover crops, therefore saving farmers money. As one of the top four teams, their company, Farm Specific Technology (FarmSpec) will move on to the final round of competition, to be held in January 2016.

The Farm Bureau Challenge focuses exclusively on rural entrepreneurs who are committed to helping rural communities. By placing in the top four, FarmSpec received $15,000 in start-up funds. The team will next travel to Orlando to compete in a 'Shark Tank' style final round, with the possibility of winning an additional $25,000. 

“The prize money will help us take an idea on a napkin and turn it into something real,” says Butler. “It will benefit our business, and hopefully, one day benefit growers around the world.”

Their award winning idea is called a Flex Roller Crimper. Existing roller crimpers are proven to be effective in terminating cover crops, but are not as efficient on variable terrain and uneven surfaces. FarmSpec says the Flex Roller Crimper improves upon the existing design by offering more efficiency on uneven surfaces and greater per row flexibility. In 2014, the Flex Roller Crimper won $5,000 in startup funding from a UT pitch competition to advance student ideas.

Butler is pursuing his master’s degree in plant pathology; Scott is completing his master’s degree in crop sciences. Wiggins is finishing his bachelor’s in agriculture with a concentration in agricultural science. All have worked as student research assistants at the UT’s West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson. 

For more information about the Farm Bureau Challenge, click on this link:
http://www.fb.org/newsroom/news_article/356/​

As one of the educational institutions associated with the UT Institute of Agriculture, the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources in Knoxville has an expanding enrollment of more than 1,450 undergraduate students.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solution. ag.tennessee.edu

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Contact:

Ginger Rowsey, UTIA Marketing and Communications, 731-425-4768,
gtrice@tennessee.edu