Madison County’s Pumpkin Vine Creek LLC selected as a national semi-finalist for AFBF Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge

Louisville, KY (October 7, 2015) – Robin Mason of Pumpkin Vine Creek LLC in Madison County was named one of 10 national semi-finalists in the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge today, receiving a check for $10,000 in startup funds for her high-placing finish. On behalf of AFBF, Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) President Mark Haney presented the check to Mason during the organization’s October board meeting.

Robin Mason, owner of Pumpkin Vine Creek LLC and creator of Woven Compost, receives a $10,000 check for her semi-finalist finish in the AFBF Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. Pictured left to right are: David S. Beck, Executive Vice President of KFB Federation; Mark Haney, KFB President; Robin Mason and her son, Andrew; Robert Anderson of Central Kentucky Ag Credit; and Lindsey Bridges of Farm Credit Mid-America.

Robin Mason, owner of Pumpkin Vine Creek LLC and creator of Woven Compost, receives a $10,000 check for her semi-finalist finish in the AFBF Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. Pictured left to right are: David S. Beck, Executive Vice President of KFB Federation; Mark Haney, KFB President; Robin Mason and her son, Andrew; Robert Anderson of Central Kentucky Ag Credit; and Lindsey Bridges of Farm Credit Mid-America.

Entrepreneurs from 33 states submitted 165 applications into competition this year, but Mason’s Kentucky-made biodegradable ground covers quickly emerged as a top entry. The product is called Woven Compost and is made from kenaf, a fiber crop being grown by just 26 farmers in 11 Kentucky counties.

“Kenaf, with our weaving technology, has the potential to become the next cash crop for our farmers searching for a replacement for tobacco,” said Mason.

This new technology from Pumpkin Vine Creek LLC weaves raw kenaf fibers into a biodegradable, earth-enriching ground cover that serves as a weed barrier. The Woven Compost product can be used with row crops as well as home gardens, offering farmers an environmentally friendly alternative to the use of plastic sheeting. It also effectively stops erosion, locks in ground moisture, eliminates the need for herbicides and supports the growth of beneficial microbes in the soil.

The landscaping compliment to Woven Compost is a similar product called Woven Mulch. Acting in much the same way as Woven Compost, Woven Mulch also includes a formulated stabilizer called Coal Black, developed through research by PolyCom Laboratories, that enriches the soil with components of Kentucky coal.

“Today is a historic day in our state. We have the ability to lead the nation in positive environmental change with Woven Compost, Woven Mulch and Coal Black,” added Mason. “We deeply appreciate the encouragement that Farm Bureau has given us as we develop our earth friendly products. Farm Bureau is helping us grow today, so that we can continue to grow a healthy tomorrow.”

The AFBF Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge, now in its second year, is a business competition for entrepreneurs with agriculture and food business ideas being cultivated in rural regions of the United States. This is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses. Competitors in the challenge must have an idea for a business that is related to food and agriculture. Businesses to food and agriculture include farms or ranches, agricultural technology, value-added food processing, food hubs, community-supported agriculture programs (CSAs), farm-to-table restaurants and farmers’ markets.

The challenge timeline, detailed eligibility guidelines and profiles of the 2015 finalist teams are available online at strongruralamerica.com/challenge.

 

 

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