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Online tool provides resource for equipment needs

AzmanL/Getty Images farmer tightening pieces of wire fence
SHARING TOOLS: Some farmers have the tools to do jobs such as putting up a fence, but not all do. Future Harvest-CASA’s Tool and Equipment Sharing Platform connects farmers with the tools they need.
The Tool and Equipment Sharing Platform was recently launched by Future Harvest-CASA.

Need a tractor or a hand tool for the upcoming growing season? Future Harvest-CASA’s Tool and Equipment Sharing Platform can help.

Future Harvest-CASA recently launched its online tool-sharing platform, and thus far, only a few items have been listed. But the hope is to get more producers to list items, so the platform will gain a following before the growing season.

Lisa Garfield of Future Harvest-CASA says the launching of the tool was the result of a tool-share feasibility study the organization did in 2019. She says it was the easiest, most straightforward way of getting tools into farmers’ hands.

Two other options involved partnering with other organizations to buy and rent equipment out to farmers, or establishing an equipment, lending and training hub in the region. But the online tool seemed like the best option that could be rolled out quickly.

“I think it’s a great way to know what’s available in your region,” Garfield says. “One of the goals of this is to really connect people with what’s in your area. You could have a neighbor … that offers a service, and you might now know it.”

And if you have extra tools or equipment that you’d like to rent out, you can post your items on the marketplace. There is no charge to use the service, at least as of right now, and anything ag-related can be listed.

Tool and Equipment Sharing Platform website

FIND A TOOL: The tool-sharing platform allows anyone to browse tools that are available for lease. It also includes information on payment type accepted, rental duration and whether the owner is willing to show you how to use it.

Only a handful of tools are currently listed on the platform, such as trailers, post drivers and single-row seeders. The platform also includes custom hire information, as well as farmers willing to demonstrate a tool's use, which Garfield says is very useful for a beginning farmer.

Anything can get listed, she says, so if you have a tractor or a planter that you might not be using or need to rent one out, you’re in luck.

“Really, anything ag-related," Garfield says. "We didn’t really put strong guardrails up there, and people have even listed trailers as pieces to lease. We tried to think through the process as thoroughly as we could, just how they could best connect with what they need and how we could streamline the process.”

There’s also a template lending agreement on the site that anyone can use.

The tool is being promoted to farmers in Future Harvest-CASA’s geographic area — Maryland, Delaware and Virginia — but anyone in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast can use it, Garfield says.

No outside funding source was used to make the platform. Future Harvest-CASA is using a free version of the Airtable platform to list the service.

“It’s a resource for farmers," Garfield says. "It essentially needs to be built by farmers. The strength of the resource will really require farmers to get on there and list things."

For more information, visit futureharvestcasa.org.

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