Cover photo for Horizon Farm Credit Farmers on the Rise Award

Horizon Farm Credit Farmers on the Rise Award

AgChoice Farm Credit Union

Closed September 30, 2023

Horizon Farm Credit is hosting the second annual Farmers on the Rise award competition for young, beginning, small, minority, and veteran (YBSMV) farmers. This award program was created to honor outstanding farmer owner-operators within the diverse agricultural community who excel in their field. Selection of winners are based on their efforts in agriculture, financial character, leadership, community involvement, and environmental stewardship.

The program will offer up to ten $10,000 awards to the top ten contestants. 

Ambrook Note: This program was formerly offered by The AgChoice Farm Credit union and known as the Farm Startup Grant


  • Applicants must fit into at least one of the following categories:

    • between 18 and 35 years of age

    • minority operator

    • veteran operator

    • operate a small farm with annual gross ag income less than $250,000

    • or a beginning farmer with at least two years of experience, but no more than 10 years of farming experience

  • In order to be eligible, you must reside within Horizon Farm Credit's territory

  • The applicant can apply as an individual or with a business partner.

  • Current and non-Farm Credit customers are eligible to apply. You do not need to be a Farm Credit customer to apply. 

  • Each applicant may only apply for one award per year. Applicants will only be eligible for one competitive event or grant award during a 12 month period of time, and past winners are not eligible to reapply.

  • Officers, Directors, and employees of the sponsor, Horizon Farm Credit, and their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents, press/media representatives, and the immediate family members of these entities are not eligible to enter. Family means an individual and spouse and anyone having the following relationship to either: parents, spouse, son, daughter, sibling, stepparent, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, grandparent, grandson, granddaughter, and the spouse of the foregoing and/or those living in the same household of each, whether or not related, are not eligible to enter.

  • If you apply as a partnership and are selected as a recipient, the cash prize will be awarded to the primary applicant.


An independent panel of qualified judges will review all of the written applications and select the top 20 finalists moving onto phase two of the judging process.

Each application in phase one will be evaluated based on the following criteria to achieve a score out of 200 possible points:

  • Agriculture and Growth: 60 points

  • Financial Character: 40 points

  • Leadership & Community Involvement: 40 points

  • Environmental Stewardship: 40 points

  • Spelling and Grammar: 20 points

  • Total: 200 points

The applicants selected as the top 20 finalists will receive an invitation to participate in an in-person interview with the judging selection committee to answer questions and give further context to their application.

All interviews will be held in person exclusively on November 10, 2022, in York, Pennsylvania. Interviews will be no longer than 30 minutes in length and are intended for the applicant to provide additional clarification regarding their application and for the judging committee to ask questions. A formal reception will be hosted on November 10, 2022 to award the winners.

During the interview process, only the named applicant(s) are permitted into the interview room. No guests will be granted access to the interview. No access to audio visual/PowerPoint/Prezi will be supported during the interview process. 

Each application in phase two will be evaluated based on the following interview selection criteria:

  • Introduction: 20 points

  • Ability to explain application and answer interview questions: 60 points

  • Professional appearance, overall tone, eye contact, mannerism, and gestures: 20 points

  • Total: 100 points

Application Instructions

To apply, follow this link to the application. You will need to create a SurveyMonkey account and verify your email.

Fill out the application form and attach the following required documentation:

  • Completed Application

  • High resolution photo (.jpg or .png)

  • Letter of Recommendation - The letter must include your name, title, address, email, phone number, and not be dated before August 15, 2022.

Incomplete applications will not be accepted or contacted. If you have any questions about this program or application, please email



September 30, 2023

Financial Instrument


Minimum Award Amount


Maximum Award Amount


Total Program Funding


Updated March 22, 2024

Image Credit: Zoe Schaeffer

This information was gathered from public sources. Ambrook is not responsible for or able to affect the results of any financial programs listed, nor are they responsible for any incorrect information that is listed or is on the hyperlinked external sites. All information is subject to change.

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