The Agri-Entrepreneurship Awards honor FFA members who recognize market opportunities and develop solid business plans which capitalize on them. Awards are available at the chapter, state and national levels.
All Agri-Entrepreneurship Award applicants will receive a rating of bronze, silver, gold, or national winner. Ten National Agri-Entrepreneurship Award winners are selected annually. Each winner receives a $1,000 award and is recognized onstage during the National FFA Convention. The winners’ projects are also featured in a booth at the National FFA Agricultural Career Show. The winners’ FFA chapters also receive a $500 grant to help them promote entrepreneurship in their agriculture programs.
The Agri-Entrepreneurship Program is sponsored by USDA Rural Development as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
Here is a profile on one of this year’s 10 winners…
Name: Shane Greenwell
Chapter: Spencer County FFA
Parents: Dwight and Angie Greenwell
Advisor: Darryl Matherly
Shane Greenwell of Taylorsville, Ky., knew he wanted a supervised agricultural experience that involved fruits and vegetables but he also knew he wanted to do something that was unique and different.
Accompanying his parents to the local grocery store, he realized that tomatoes, cucumbers and other standard garden crops were plentiful. Trying to find his niche, he continued to research and soon came upon his idea – canary melons. With a unique taste, this melon is a cross between a honeydew and cantaloupe that one doesn’t often see in the store. It held just the right appeal for Greenwell.
In the summer of 2010, Greenwell decided to see how he would do growing the canary melon along with two other popular varieties of melons. It was soon a success. He looked at the market within Spencer County and found a need that needed to be filled.
Shane’s Produce fit this need.
“I think being smart about how to sell my produce really drove my business in the right direction.” Greenwell said. “I have learned that you have to get your name out in the community and the way to do that is through the most-populated place.”
Greenwell is able to market at the only local grocery store in Spencer County and also is available to advertise in his front yard, located along one of the main roads in Taylorsville. The county he lives in was one of the most rapid growing counties in the state of Kentucky during the 2000s and he has been able to capitalize on this growth.
Currently a sophomore at Spencer County High School, Greenwell is an active member of the soccer team, high school band and a volunteer at his First Baptist Church. He plans to graduate in 2013 and then attend college in Kentucky where he will study business with a possible interest in sales and marketing.