November 17, 2016 |

Farming And The Sharing Economy: A Match Made In Heaven

This week we explore a special frontier of the sharing economy. For many users, being part of the sharing economy means renting a car or a room for a weekend, but a great share of peer to peer transactions occur at the B2B level. Agricultural and farming companies are no strangers to this.

The link between farming and the sharing economy

Farming is one of the oldest industries in the entire world, and Denmark is no exception. While being the backbone of the national economy for centuries,the Danish agriculture has been part of a digital revolution, having most of its processes automatized, for better production monitoring. This, only has a limited benefit on this sector, which constantly struggles with global competition on prices. Many Danish farmers have been brought to their knees by the current situation, and are seeking solutions to contain their losses.

Danish brothers Anders Bram Knudsen and Søren Iver Knudsen have created a solution that could really turn things around for many entrepreneurs: they have created FarmBackup. But this is not a unique example. In the United States, MachineryLink Sharing offers the same peer to peer service. Let’s see more in detail what these platforms are about.

Platforms helping farmers

FarmBackup and MachineryLink allow farmers to share their assets – machines and manpower, with similar companies at greater distances. At this point you might say it is nothing new, and you are right. Lending and borrowing machinery has been the rule for decades in this industry. What they actually do is extending a farmer’s professional network for miles, taking advantage of different harvest peaks.

The idea behind these services is to help farms and individuals making a better use of their resources, and even have extra earnings. Why having a tractor or a harvester sitting in the warehouse for months? Farmer to farmer rental can really benefit their economies, by reducing costs and inefficient use of resources. It is up to the owner to decide rental terms. This makes machinery exchange a flexible solution that won’t affect the regular production.

What do farmers say?

It seems to be a popular service as the farming equipment is very expensive. We talked to Mr. Federle, a farmer from Denmark. He said: “It is really important to have the possibility to borrow machinery from other farmers. A website like FarmBackup helps farmers and machinery owners take advantage of different harvest seasons.” But there are possibilities to do even more for the farmers: “Of course, it is also important to be able to hire someone who can drive the machine, and that is something a sharing platform for farmers could easily provide as extra service”, says Mr. Federle.