Agriculture and the Internet News Roundup: May 2013
Crowdfunding as Farm Financing Option: When organic farmer Rebeca Bloomfield wanted to start her own farm, she decided to use “crowdfunding” – the solicitation of donations through social media. Her story and the story of other small businesses was featured in a USA Today story on May 22. While not a financing panacea, it’s another option to consider for starting a small, mission-driven business.
Internet Access Correlated with Higher Small Farm Income: Researchers at Louisiana State Univeristy found that small farmers with Internet access earned approximately $2,200 to $2,700 more in gross farm income compared to small farms without access. The story was reported in AgWired.
Farmers Reduce Waste and Add Revenue with Social Media Tools: A family farm in Sonoma County, California turned to Facebook to sell unsold vegetables after farmers markets. The farm’s success led to the development of CropMobster, which is helping local farmers find alternative outlets for produce that would otherwise go to waste. After six weeks of operation, the website helped move 11,000 pounds of food. The full report can be found here.
Web-based Tool from Cornell Tailors Nitrogen Recommendations: A free web-based tool developed at Cornell University called Adapt-N, utilizes local soil, crop, and weather data to provide improved estimates of nitrogen fertilizer need for corn throughout the growing season. The program received ten years of testing in Iowa and New York and is now available in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin as well. The program serves the dual purpose of reducing fertilizer costs to farmers while helping protect the environment through more judicious fertilizer use.