Everett Griner talks about sharing equipment in today’s Agri View.
Is it really necessary for every farmer who grows corn to have a costly corn combine? Or a cotton farmer to have a harvester and a baler? It might be today, but it’s doubtful in the future. They are learning to share. Today harvest equipment is used only a few weeks a year. It sits under a shelter the rest of the time. So, here is the deal. We both have corn and cotton acreage. You pick the cotton. I’ll harvest the corn. That way we both save a ton of money on equipment. Well now, this plan is already working in some places. And it’s not just cotton pickers and corn combines. Farmers are learning that sharing used farm equipment can save a huge amount of money, but it takes planning. It requires co-ordination and it requires good management. It’s not for everybody. But it is something to think about.
That’s Agri View for today, I’m Everett Griner.
The Sharing Economy Comes to the Farm
As commodity prices tank, growers look to rent out their tractors
by Alan Bjerga, Bloomberg
Three months out of the year, the 5,500 members of the Heartland Co-op push their sprayers and fertilizing machines to maximum capacity in hopes of getting the most out of a million acres of central Iowa farmland planted mostly with corn and soy. The rest of the time, the machinery typically sits in barns, idle until the next season, like most of the $248 billion of equipment owned by farmers across the country.
FarmLink, based in Kansas City, Mo., seeks to turn that equation around. Run by Ron LeMay, who headed Sprint’s wireless division until 2003, the company has created a platform to help farmers rent out their unused equipment to growers who may be hundreds of miles away to take advantage of the differences in peak harvest seasons. Farm co-ops and equipment dealers can already sign up online, and FarmLink may add a mobile app later this year. “It’s Airbnb for agriculture,” says Jeff Dema, FarmLink’s president for grower services. “Farmers are examining their bottom lines and wondering if the $500,000 in their shed might be put to better use.”