LINCOLN, NE – The Nebraska Farm Bureau congratulates Burt County Farm Bureau member Kurtis Charling for being selected as a semi-finalist in the 2016 American Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge.

“There were a total of 10 teams selected for the 2016 Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge, four finalists and six semi-finalist,” Audrey Smith, director of youth, collegiate & young leader programs said Oct. 22. “This is the second year for the competition and it is a great way to provide opportunities for individuals to showcase business innovations being developed in rural regions of the U.S. It is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs developing food and agriculture businesses,” she said.

Kurtis Charling of Oakland, entered his business Strategic Management of Agriculture Related Technologies or (S.M.A.R.T.), as an ag tech entry that focused on water conservation systems for farms and ranches. Charling’s irrigation technology incorporates an array of methods to automatically schedule and control irrigation systems. Through the automated control, his S.M.A.R.T. system that guarantees the proper environmental variables are accounted for, eliminating time and management responsibilities associated with agriculture irrigation. The technology also makes sure the correct amount of water is applied and at the right time, reducing crop-water stress and maximizing yields in return.

“There were 165 applications from across the nation and six people from Nebraska applied. Of that group Kurtis Charling was selected as a semi-finalists. We are excited to see Nebraska entrepreneurs showcase their talents. Charling was awarded $10,000, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Farm Credit Council,” Smith said.

“Rural entrepreneurs typically face unique challenges including limited options for startup funding, which Farm Bureau aims to address through the challenge. We would love to see more entries from Nebraska. Farm Bureau is focused on elevating rural entrepreneurs, their ideas, their skills, inspiration and fortitude to make good things happen,” Smith said.

For more information about the AFBF Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge contact Audrey Smith at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service and advocacy efforts. More than 60,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is key to fueling Nebraska’s economy. For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit