Kevin Faulkner, presents Ethan McPherson, of Manhattan, with the first-place prize of $6,000 at this year’s challenge finals. (Courtesy Fort Hays State University)

A Fort Hays State University freshman from Manhattan recently took home the top prize in an entrepreneurial challenge with his business plan for “Cow Fences.”

Ethan McPherson’s plan is built on the concept of a virtual farmer’s market and is slated to connect beef and pork producers directly to consumers. For his efforts, McPherson won a $6,000 cash prize at the 2022 Faulkner Challenge, a business plan competition at Fort Hays State. He says it provides an opportunity for producers to increase their revenues by shipping products directly to someone’s doorstep, cutting out the need for the traditional farmer’s market.

“It also provides consumers with the ability to know where their products are coming from and with the ability to choose where the products come from across the nation through postal shipping, having their products delivered directly to their doors,” he said.

McPherson says with his winnings, he’s currently developing a website and looking into launching postal services by late this year or early next year in eastern Kansas.

“Once we’ve established a website and a brand and have producers and consumers traffic through our site, we plan to launch an app that you can use on your smart phone, to bring more convenience and simplicity to it,” he said.

McPherson is a freshman at Fort Hays State majoring in Agriculture Education. He is a 2021 graduate of the Manhattan Virtual Academy and a former member of Riley County 4H. Though his end goal is to one day become a teacher or an extension agent, he says participating in this entrepreneurial venture is something he’s passionate about.

“I hope to build it to be a big enough business that it’s self-sustaining and strives to provide community for others, such as I’d be doing as a teacher or an extension agent,” he said.

With a win under his belt, McPherson next plans to take his business proposal to a regional competition planned at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He’ll find out Friday if his venture has been selected as a semifinalist for the event.

McPherson says any agricultural producers in Manhattan or throughout the region interested in learning more about Cow Fences can reach him via email at

Our full interview with Ethan McPherson on News Radio KMAN is featured below.

      0415 Ethan McPherson

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