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HarvestPort can help growers save money

In an effort to better assist producers with finding the best prices for their inputs and helping retailers connect with the customer, Tyler Horbach, founder of The FarmElement, has joined HarvestPort as grower solutions manager.

HarvestPort, according to the company, connects a network of agricultural stakeholders by helping farmers and farmer advocates plan and procure crop inputs at the best time to save the most money. They also help establish a market for innovative suppliers with promising products and help retailers stock smarter to waste less.

Horbach is excited to be partnering up with HarvestPort.

Horbach said Brian Dawson, CEO of HarvestPort, contacted him back in 2018.

“He reached out to me after he became aware of The FarmElement and what I was doing in Iowa,” he said. “HarvestPort actually has a pretty similar model working in the permanent crop states – farms with orchards, vineyards, tree nuts, stone fruit, etc. and they were looking to expand into the Midwest.”

Horbach said after they met he knew it would make for a great match.

“I understood first and foremost that we aligned philosophically and ethically,” he said. “Since I launched The FarmElement my goal has always been to marry the convenience of doing business online with the value ag retailers bring to their farm clients and that is exactly what Brian has done and what we are doing together at HarvestPort.”

Horbach said HarvestPort was launched in 2015 as an “Air BNB” for farm equipment.

“HarvestPort successfully launched that business unit, and after a couple of years asked their grower clients what else they could help them with and the farmers said input costs have always been one of their top expenses, so HarvestPort added input procurement to their list of services,” he said. “One of the things that impressed me the most about HarvestPort was that they were a proven startup with results. I’ve seen multiple startups that talk and look the part, but few can walk the walk. Growers in the permanent crop space who utilized HarvestPort were saving on average 15 percent on their inputs. After learning this I wanted to provide that opportunity for Iowa growers as well.”

Horbach said now is the beginning of the first buying season for HarvestPort in Iowa and currently, has over 200,000 acres worth of farmers wanting to use the platform.

What HarvestPort offers, he said is they combine their growers’ orders monthly and act as a tech-enabled procurement group third party that coordinates everything by facilitating the retailer and growers’ transactions.

“At the beginning of each month, HarvestPort collects the necessary information from the farmers who would like to see prices by the end of that particular month,” he said. “We then combine that monthly demand into something similar to an informal buying group. At that point retailers we have partnered with, bid on our growers’ business, and then we share prices with each grower. The entire process is supported by the HarvestPort Exchange App (HPX). After seeing our prices, growers individually decide whether or not they will move forward. Growers are not obligated to purchase their inputs through HarvestPort.”

Horbach added that not only does this service help to lower prices for growers, but it also helps the retailers cut their costs of doing business. Growers could expect a 10 to 20-percent savings on their inputs.

One offering HarvestPort has is a platform called “Deals.” This, Horbach said is where most deals can be found during the off season, after the major buying season is over.

“Retailers may have some leftover product, or warehouses to clear out. The retailers can post a deal on our website and growers can see which products they are offloading,” he said.

HarvestPort also offers a third business unit called Innovation Hub.

“There are a ton of ag tech startups out there, from those involved with big data management, drone utilization, artificial intelligence, etc. New companies and products are continuously appearing, and farmers are getting bombarded with all the noise,” said Horbach. “Our Innovation Hub is a place where vetted and proven new products are shared, and farmers can discover and research them on our website.

HarvestPort has special offers for first time users.

“Through the end of the year, there is a free trial for farmers using HarvestPort for the first time,” he said. “Normally we charge a per acre fee, but we feel it’s only right to reward the early adopters. Growers are not committed to purchase their products through HarvestPort, so there is no downside or risk in giving HarvestPort a try. I’d encourage anyone who wants to learn more to visit our website and contact me directly. I’ll be sure to follow-up promptly and answer any questions.”