No doubt you’ve heard of crowdfunding – that’s a new way to finance special projects with small amounts from lots of investors, and it’s usually handled over the Internet.
The Western View: Crowdfunding for Agriculture
It’s quite the rage now, and there are several websites where you can post a project and get people to pony up a few bucks to support it. Sounds crazy, but it works. Some of the sites – like gofundme.com or giveforward.com are for helping out in a crisis, or for humanitarian causes. Others, like kickstarter, are where you’ll find artists, writers, musicians and other talented people looking for support.
Some of the projects are business ventures, offering a reward or possibly a return on your investment.
There are now some crowdfunding sites that specialize in agriculture. At the moment, there are at least 26 sites dedicated to farm or food ventures.
One is barnbuilder.us. This site was created to encourage sustainable agriculture that provides quality food in a humane way. Projects start at $5,000, and investment amounts are usually in the $10 to $100 range. There’s a lot of worthy projects looking for help.
Another site is Agfunder. It’s for the big boys. The projects there are high-dollar. Most are companies that are developing high-tech tools and equipment for large-scale farming operations.
Agfunder projects include SWIIM, which is creating a new $150 billion market for water rights and conservation with a hardware/software system co-developed with the USDA. Another, AgDNA, has developed an automated data processing and analytics platform which gathers information using the machinery in the fields and sends it directly to growers’ smartphones and tablets.
These crowdfunding websites are creating exciting new ways for technology and products to grow, and make it possible for the people who could best use the products to help them come about.
I’m Len Wilcox and that’s the Western View from AgNet West.