07.08.16 - Farm in South Dakota

A Technological Farming Solution

In Technology by Lauren Gailli

Over the past few years we have all become familiar with Uber and other ride sharing sites that allow us to hail a car with our smartphones as simply as you would a cab. These sites offer us a car and driver that will take us where we need to go for a specific price, making the need of car ownership in cities a thing of the past in many cases. In fact, Uber has been so successful they are being looked at by many automakers to be one of the main companies to help bring autonomous driving to the forefront of transportation.

Some car sharing sites have taken this a step farther and introduced us to car ownership sharing and car sharing in a different way. With ownership sharing up to four people can share the cost of owning a car and the payments are based upon the amount each one drives in the previous month. Car sharing is a system where the car service can leave a car where you need it so you can drive where you need to and pay a fee online. As you can see we are using technology to improve transportation and lower costs, which may not be good for taxi and car rental companies, but this is the direction the future is taking us.

With these sharing services in mind doesn’t it make sense to offer something like this to farmers as well? Farming is an extremely expensive business and one we can’t live without. In order for many farms to survive they have to be part of a network of larger farmers to be able to afford to continue to farm the land. What is needed is a way to reduce the cost of farming for these farmers while ensuring they can still get the job done the way they need to.

Farm equipment is known to be the second largest expense on a farm and it accounts for nearly $244 billion in expenses across the country. One farm could have millions of dollars worth of equipment on the farm which sits mostly unused throughout a majority of the year. This is where a technological solution comes in that can revolutionize the farming industry by simply making better use of the equipment that is already in place around the country on a variety of farms that are trying to stay afloat.

Rather than purchasing new equipment or allowing the equipment a farm has to sit around unused for the time being a new site called MachineryLink Solutions has been started to offer an Uber-style system of renting tractors and other farm equipment out to those that need it for a fee. This doesn’t come cheap at all, but if you can have a log splitter for a week at $200 a day you won’t have to buy one for over $10,000 when you only need it for that one week each year. The same goes for other equipment such as tractors, combines and anything else that is needed for farming.

Because farm equipment is often made to fill a specific role on the farm and it mostly goes unused throughout the rest of the year, this is a great solution to sharing the equipment already in place to ensure you can get the job done right. This is also a fantastic way for those who have equipment but are unable to repair it at the time because it is in need of parts to stay on schedule with their farming. Currently there are about 1,200 farms using the site and tens of millions of dollars worth of equipment available for use for the farmers around the country.

With the expected crop of 2016 to be the least profitable in over ten years this is a solution that can add some income to those who own the equipment and offer a great solution to the need for equipment for those who can rent it rather than own it.