Alabama Agribusiness Council new member Michael Lynch is a top ten finalist in the American Farm Bureau [AFBF] Ag Innovation Challenge. Lynch's business Chonex, dba STRONGSOIL, develops high-value, organic fertilizer/bio-stimulant from poultry litter. The secret to the process? The black soldier fly larvae. The larvae consume the manure and then recycle it into an organic fertilizer with anti-fungal and microbial properties. STRONGSOIL is packaged into bags which growers use to brew a microbial tea that, when applied to fields, builds soil health, increases yields, and reduces the amount of chemical inputs needed.
The Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge is a national business competition that showcases U.S. startups developing innovative solutions that address challenges facing America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities. Launched in 2015, The Challenge was the first national business competition of its kind focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs.
Lynch and other finalists will compete in the last round of competition at the AFBF Convention in Atlanta, Ga. in January 2022 after a live pitch and networking event. If selected as the overall winner, STRONGSOIL will be awarded $50,000 in startup funds provided by sponsors Farm Credit, Bayer Crop Science, John Deere, Farm Bureau Bank and Microsoft.
Other awards include:
$20,000 will be awarded to the 2022 Ag Innovation Challenge Runner-Up
$15,000 will be awarded to two finalist teams
$10,000 will be awarded to six semi-finalist teams
Additional $5,000 to the People's Choice Team (chosen by public vote; all ten teams are eligible)