While farmers might know the names of other farmers in their county and surrounding area, they may not know about custom services other farmers provide, or how to contact them. So, when a piece of equipment breaks down, it's not always easy to know who to call or how to reach them. That's where Farmmee comes in.
Created by tech industry veterans and entrepreneurs Becky McCrea, Cindy Rockwell and Molly Woodruff, Farmmee helps solve these dilemmas by connecting farmers with other farmers who provide these services. McCrea, Woodruff and Rockwell all have backgrounds in IT and agriculture, and combined their expertise to develop the Farmmee app.
"We did some market research, and we found that nowadays, farmers don't always know their neighbors," says Woodruff, Farmmee’s CEO, who farms near Indianola. "So if they have a piece of equipment that breaks down or they need custom work done, they're not always sure who to call. Even though they might know their name, they might not have their phone number."
USER-FRIENDLY: Molly Woodruff notes that the app was designed to be dynamic and easy to use. "A good example is, we knocked down a ton of hay, and there's rain coming. Our baler just blew a bearing, and we need somebody to bale the hay," she says. "This is a way to urgently, on the spot, put in a request to get the help that they need."
"It's a way to connect farmers with other farmers — not just for equipment breakdowns or issues, but also for planning ahead," Woodruff adds. "Farmmee helps align the people that can provide that service with the farmer that needs the service to utilize equipment and maximize profit."
The app, available in Android and iOS versions, breaks users down into two categories: farmers and providers. Users can be both, if desired. Farmers can list jobs they want help with, from planting and harvesting, to hauling livestock, to baling hay, to agronomy services and more. Service providers can list the services they offer. Once a farmer chooses a service, Farmmee finds providers using ZIP codes and counties with GIS locators, so providers know where a specific job is located.
App connects farmers, service providers
"When we did the market research, the farmers we were talking to called it 'Uber for farming,' and it's that simple," says Cindy Rockwell, Farmmee director of business development, who has worked in IT for over 30 years and previously worked as an IT consultant for a crop insurance firm. "After you download the Farmmee app, you can say, 'I can provide services.' We're trying to build a network of service providers as a young company just getting off the ground nationally. We're really launching the app with it being free to everyone out of the gate."
"Everybody that farms has equipment that they only utilize for a small period of time. If someone wants to make a little more money to make an extra payment on that equipment, whatever that might be, all they need to do is sign up as a provider of that service," Rockwell says. "It lets you know who the people are that are in your proximity. You get a look at who that farmer is, what their need is from a commodity and service perspective — and we also have the farmer pinpoint with the map where their field is at, or where their hauling needs take place."
Farmmee does not take a cut or percentage of the fees that providers charge. Users are free to negotiate their own terms, conditions and form of payment. This leaves farmers fully in charge of the job and schedule. Farmers listing services needed can use the app at no charge, while service providers can list all the services they want for as low as $19.99 per month. However, for a limited time, Farmmee is offering its services at no charge to either party. Farmers can also rate providers and provide reviews when jobs are completed, so there is incentive for providers to perform well.
"The app itself is always free to farmers. So if you need help and you say, 'I need help,' there's no subscription involved," says McCrea, Farmmee chief technology officer.
McCrea notes the app was designed not only to be user-friendly, but also to allow for timely transactions.
"When you think about pushing an 'easy button,' you can go into the app and either choose 'I need help' or 'I can provide help' right off the bat," McCrea says. "You can submit that job so you can be matched right away, so you can get help in a timely manner."
"We wanted the app to be not only dynamic and easy to use, but also useful for planning as well," Woodruff says. "A good example is, we knocked down a ton of hay, and there's rain coming. Our baler just blew a bearing, and we need somebody to bale the hay. This is a way to urgently, on the spot, put in a request to get the help that they need."