Farmer Focus – Chris Hollingsworth

Harvest 2021 roundup at Hawk Mill, an East
Anglian perspective.

In my first Farmer focus piece, I am writing to you about a new company which will revolutionise our farming businesses and one I have become personally involved in. It’s a company called Farmdeals (you will have probably seen the adverts) and where better to start the journey than here at the Direct Driller magazine. The fastest growing farming publication on the planet and one of the very few farming journals where you get the real story not fake news.

Agriculture is the last major industry left without an online digital trading platform, well that was until Farmdeals was born. The Farming Forum has teamed up with a software company called Future Farm. They bring to the table experienced engineers who have the knowledge and ability to build the right digital platform for our industry, that with the experience of the marketing team at the Farming Forum then we have the right structure to create a very successful online digital ordering platform. We can dramatically reduce the cost of every transaction and pass that on to our farmers. We can do this because a digital ordering platform requires considerably less labour to run it than a traditional buying group. This will reduce our costs so we can pass this on to our farmers or members with lower prices.

There will be special offers, different payment terms, price updating. Deals where the price reduces as more product is sold and the savings are passed onto you. Where the price will drop depending on the how many farmers buy. We will encourage you all to do what we call ‘milk round ‘deals. An example of this is with fuel. We set up a 36,000-litre tanker delivery direct from the refinery to a particular area (minimum order for each farm would be 6000 litres). We can offer this at a 10% discount to conventional deliveries. This will incentivise you the farmer via your Facebook, Twitter or Whats app groups to build mini buying groups to trade with us, deals within Farmdeals. 

All of this is designed to bring the manufacturer closer to the farmer, reduce the links in the chain between buyer and seller, optimise the price and give the farmer (whatever his size) more power in the marketplace. This doesn’t come as a long list of messages in your voicemail or endless emails to put in your delete box but instead in one easy to use app which you can view either on your mobile from the tractor seat or in the office on the laptop.The Farmdeals platform has been carefully designed to help you make the right choices. Yes, there will be some bumps in the road as the present cumbersome and expensive framework of buying and selling is slowly dismantled and yes there will be plenty of resistance from the trade.

Farmers are traditional and not everyone is going to take to online digital ordering straight away. Some will still want to chat to their supplier and will be unwilling to complete their transaction with a couple of clicks on their mobile phone from the tractor seat. But hey, Rome was not built in a day. By now I am sure you are all thinking well good for you Chris so you are going to be making money out of your investment. Well true we are not going to do this for nothing but we all firmly believe, and this is written into the very heart and soul of the Farming Forum that we can start to disrupt agriculture’s current trading system and we can all benefit from it.

Next time a salesman rings you on your mobile or worse still drives up to your farm just think who is paying for this? Between the manufacturer and you, how many middlemen are there all taking a margin out of the transaction? Farmdeals will allow us to trade at a considerably lower cost and pass that onto you the farmer, and as we build our membership base, we will be able to command better prices for everyone. I use the word member because in effect we are an Agricultural Buying Group, but maybe not one you would recognise.

Currently there is no membership or joining fee, no levy on turnover and very small commission charges. What’s the downside? Well, the personal service will be different. Queries, questions etc will be dealt with mainly by our help/ chat lines. We will have staff available to help you, but you will be encouraged to use the online service first. Check out the web site and you will see how many products we already have, look at our prices and see how competitive we are. Currently we have Fuel, Ad blue, Oils and Greases, Fertiliser, Crop Nutrition, Agchem, Animal feed, Vet Meds, Machinery parts with many more to follow. So far, we have discussed the purchase side of Agriculture, well that’s not all we are planning to do. We started on the purchase side, but we are now building a Selling Platform and that’s where the story gets even more interesting. We want to build a much closer relationship between the farmer and the consumer.

Very important and challenging in the fresh produce business but why not? If I was a livestock farmer producing high quality grass-fed beef, I would love to link up to a chain of restaurants who will buy direct from me and yes, they will pay a premium Farming is never easy and no more so than in today’s world. Farmdeals will help you to find new ways of reducing your costs of production and selling your produce at a better price.

So come and look at what we do and sign up as a member. We are only a click away.