Growing the Next Generation of Agricultural Innovators and Entrepreneurs
Break-out groups at the Agriculture Innovation Prize launch event on October 2, 2013, in Washington, DC, reviewed agricultural challenges and brainstormed options for engaging with student communities. (Photo by Tom Boyden)
On October 2nd, the University of Wisconsin – Madison and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation announced the launch of a new prize that aims to inspire the next generation of agricultural innovators and entrepreneurs.
The “Agricultural Innovation Prize: Powered by 40 Chances,” is a student-led, student-focused competition established by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in collaboration with USDA and funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Open to any student at a US institution of higher education, it will award more than $200,000 in cash prizes annually to the best proposals and business ideas that address challenges in 21st century agriculture, such as food scarcity and availability, transportation, and sustainability.
This is an especially timely prize for several reasons. First, with fewer and fewer Americans living or working on farms, agriculture’s visibility has diminished even as the importance of America’s agricultural economy is stronger than ever. This declining involvement with agriculture is undermining the Nation’s ability to attract and train the next generation of skilled, US agricultural practitioners. By connecting students with industry veterans, professional societies, non-profits, and government and policy experts, the Agricultural Innovation Prize will help teach today’s students how to be tomorrow’s agriculture innovators and entrepreneurs.