Cereals: The Arable Event

Farm-r - Farmer to Farmer Rental

17-May-2017 by: Rachel Gethin Farm 491

The Product:

Farm-r is a clever online marketplace allowing farmers to earn money by renting out their unused farm machinery or save money by renting instead of buying. Farmers can rent out their seasonal machinery in the low season while farmers with differing seasonality or who don’t own machinery can hire it. This results in improved efficiency and profitability for both businesses. Many farms use similar types of machinery but their geographical location or farming system will dictate their individual seasonality which will be different from many other farms. Farm-r easily connects these farmers so they can share machinery, allowing assets to move from areas of supply to areas of demand.

The aim of Farm-r is to improve asset efficiency on British farms. By better utilizing assets farm businesses will become more environmentally and financially sustainable. Both these attributes are required in today’s volatile and uncertain agricultural industry.

There are significant barriers to entry into the agricultural industry both for young farmers just starting out as well as for more seasoned entrepreneurs needing to grow. The capital-intensive nature of agriculture, with the high cost of land and machinery, can stifle new entrants and entrepreneurial activity.

Farm-r allows farmers to earn extra revenue from machinery they already own, for many it will reduce the need for ownership all together. The aim of the platform is to allow ‘on-demand’ farming, this is where farmers just pay for the use of machinery rather than to own it.

The platform is intentionally simplistic and flexible so it can be used in various ways depending on each user’s requirements. Farmers can list machinery for rent on its own; they can list it with an operator, providing them with a day’s work and adding a useful service, or contractors can list full contracting services. Farm-r is creating a free market so machinery assets can flow from supply to demand and be priced by market forces.

Meet the Founder: Dan Robinson  

Farm-r is the invention of Dan Robinson. Dan grew up on his family farm in Northumberland with sheep and suckler cows and has started several farm diversifications but it was while working in the agricultural supply industry at a national level that gave him a helicopter view of the industry and allowed him to see the potential for Farm-r to revolutionise Farming.

Having visited many farms in his job, Dan noticed a recurring theme; he would see unused machinery stored in sheds, not being used while farms in the next valley or even next door where using the exact same piece of machinery. There appeared to be a disconnection between farms and Dan saw an opportunity. He set about finding a technology solution that could connect farmers nationally and allow them to share machinery and transact without any friction.

Main Challenge of being an entrepreneur

The initial launch of Farm-r has been extremely positively received. Many professional farmers are now very technology-orientated and the industry will continue to become even more technology focused so using a platform to access machinery is a simple concept. The current challenge is to build the supply side of the marketplace so that there is a varied selection of machinery available to rent.

On working with Farm491

Dan said; “I found Farm491 whilst searching for start-up accelerators online; without hesitation, I became a virtual member! Members are given support and benefit hugely from collaboratively working with other members, as well as having access to farmers, business guidance from expert advisers and valuable farming data. Farm491 helps us to refine and grow our business ideas. It is excellent to have the support of Farm491 as Farm-r grows – the future for us is very exciting.”  

See Farm-r at Cereals, on the Farm491 stand 837. 

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