CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Veterans who pitch an idea to build or expand an agribusiness in West Virginia could be eligible to win up to a $10,000 grant from the state Department of Agriculture, officials said in a press release.
The department is hosting a “Shark Tank”-style competition for the first time early next year for members of “West Virginia Veterans and Heroes to Agriculture,” a state program that aims to support veterans working in and transitioning into the field of agriculture.
“The largest barrier to entry for any inspiring farmer is capital,” Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt said in the press release.
Veterans are tasked with completing a competition application by Jan. 16 describing their operation and business plans. Finalists will be given five minutes to pitch their idea in front of a panel of judges at Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley on March 11.
The winner will receive $10,000; five runners-up will win $5,000 each; ten others will get $2,500.
“Whether the contestants are looking to build a new barn, buy equipment or install fencing, the prize money can be used for capital improvements to make their dreams come true,” Veterans and Heroes to Agriculture Manager Sierra Cox said.