Alum Winner of Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative Challenge

Ryan Augustine (’12 ag studies) and his company AccuGrain was named the Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative (REI) Challenge winner during the American Farm Bureau (AFBF) Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show held January 8-13.

AccuGrain of Rose Hill, Iowa, was selected from a field of four finalists and received a total of $30,000 in prize money to implement his business idea. The business was selected from a field of 165 applicants to compete with three other contestants during the second annual REI Challenge.  The finalists competed for the award by pitching their business ideas to a team of judges and in front of a live audience on the main stage of the IDEAg Trade Show.   

The company utilizes X-Ray technology to provide real-time grain inventory management, which allows farmers to make marketing decisions at a moment’s notice. AccuGrain technology also provides a significant safety benefit to farmers by reducing the need to climb or enter bins to assess inventory levels and moisture content. 

This is the second year in a row the honor has been given to an Iowa State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumnus and participant in the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative (AgEI) program.  

Augustine (’12 agricultural studies) participated in AgEI’s Student Incubator Program and Econ 334, the Entrepreneurship in Agriculture course, during his time at Iowa State.

“Being selected as the American Farm Bureau’s Entrepreneur of the year has been a great honor for AccuGrain. Competitions like these, as well as the many opportunities for mentoring and growth that we had through the Ag Entrepreneurship Initiative at Iowa State University, have helped give us the resources and confidence we need to take our idea from a simple start up to a successful business,” Augustine said.

The Econ 334 course gives students the skills and resources needed to develop business startups. Through this course, Augustine created the AccuGrain concept – an agricultural business using X-ray technology to measure the weight of flowing grain through pictures. Since then AccuGrain has continued to impress members of the industry with its ability to produce accurate data in a timely manner.

“It has been great to see Ryan move this idea from classroom to reality, as it has taken persistent, resourceful work. He has commercialized an ISU-patented technology, a very exciting example of startup development and technology commercialization in a university environment,” said AgEI director Kevin Kimle.

ScoutPro, a crop scouting and pest identification mobile app created by Iowa State agricultural and life sciences education graduates was named the Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015. Michael Koenig, Stuart McCulloh and Holden Nyhus also created ScoutPro in the Econ 334 course.  

AccuGrain received $30,000 in prize money from the competition to help implement their business. Augustine was joined by Iowa State student, and AccuGrain intern, Steven Brockshus during the competition.

The Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative at Iowa State was established in 2005. The initiative works to broaden understanding of entrepreneurship among faculty and students of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences by providing educational experiences to develop students' entrepreneurial skills and increase interaction among students, faculty and agricultural entrepreneurs.

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