Ag-tech firm adopting Airbnb technology to help farmers deal with fodder crisis

By Gordon Deegan

One Irish start-up ag-tech company has adopted an Airbnb-style technological approach to agribusiness that can help farmers deal with the fodder crisis.

The brainchild of UL academic, Dr. John Garvey, FarmHedge connects farmers with suppliers of farm inputs.

CEO of the firm, Dr. Garvey said that the company’s technology “has the potential to complement fodder importation and the other efforts that are being made to meet farmers’ needs.”

He explained that “those farmers who have a surplus of fodder and are willing to sell it for a reasonable price could use FarmHedge to make an offer to groups of farmers who are willing to buy fodder”.

The FarmHedge mission is to help farmers get better value and access to a bigger range of suppliers.

To date, much of FarmHedge’s focus has been on agricultural markets in Germany and Austria, but it has about 1,500 farmers using the app in Ireland.

In recent weeks, several farmers are submitting requests for fodder via the app and this is not being matched on the supply side.

Continuing, Dr. Garvey said: “Farmers who have downloaded the FarmHedge app to their phone can submit a request to buy any farm input – including fodder.

Naturally, the immediate challenge is to match these requests with offers, so FarmHedge is actively seeking the much smaller group of farmers who may have surplus fodder – perhaps due to a low stocking rate or better-than-average farm conditions.

From a farming background, the Clare native added: “Right now, if there are farmers with surplus fodder who are open to selling it, they can get in touch with us by sending a short email to [email protected].

“After a follow-up call, they can be quickly set up as suppliers on the platform and they can make an offer, providing details on the type, volume and quality of fodder that they have available. They can also show the price per tonne or per bale that you would like to sell it for.

“They can then publish the offer to groups of farmers in a selected location. The targeted farmers receive this offer via the app; they can then use the app to commit to buying the fodder and delivery and payment will be arranged,” he concluded.