About Us

molly_headshot-275x300A message from Prof. Molly Jahn
Founder and Faculty Mentor

We welcome all who are interested in food systems, innovation and the brightest possible future to explore the opportunities afforded by this competition, the first ever and largest student-focused national prize on agricultural innovations, powered by Forty Chances and run in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  A student team drawn from across the University of Wisconsin-Madison have organized this competition which will award over $200,000 in prize money to teams selected from applicants drawn from every field and every part of our country.  The student organizers have invited a world class panel of judges who will assemble in Madison, Wisconsin on April 25 and 26, 2014 to celebrate innovators and select winners.  Best wishes to all those who will submit their applications and thanks from our team led by David LeZaks and Chris Meyer and to all the students, faculty, team mentors, judges and others who have contributed to the Ag Prize.


On December 7th, 2012 the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology issued a report on Agricultural Preparedness, illustrating how unprepared our agricultural system is to meeting current and upcoming challenges.  It also highlights the impacts of a changing climate, and its impact on food production capacity.

The PCAST report, coupled with the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2011 that “recognized the potential for prizes and challenges to mobilize America’s ingenuity to solve some of our Nation’s most pressing challenges” has influenced students, faculty and staff at the University of Wisconsin – Madison to establish a student-led, student-focused, national innovation and entrepreneurship prize to inspire, educate, challenge and promote the next generation of agriculture innovators and entrepreneurs.


The primary goal of the Agricultural Innovation Prize is to educate, support, and celebrate the next generation of agricultural innovators. This will happen by providing students with the invaluable experience of designing a business plan, learning from a prestigious corps of mentors, competing at a national scale and becoming part of a national network of agriculture innovators and entrepreneurs. This is the largest student prize focused on agriculture in the world, and the competition seeks student participation from across the spectrum of academic disciplines and interests.

Students will be encouraged to leverage technology and ideas developed on and off campus, mentors and other professional resources as they are available, and they will be supplemented with information and direction provided by the national organizing body to help them create successful ventures to improve agriculture.

The Prize is administered by students and staff at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  Please see the Student Organizing Team page for more information and to get involved.

 The Agricultural Innovation Prize is run in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture.