Trust and technology

Tim Hammerich

This is Tim Hammerich from the Ag Information Network with your Farm of the Future report.

Entrepreneurs and investors are excited about the opportunities for more financial technology or fintech to enter the agricultural market. But it’s important to remember, says venture capitalist Mark Blackwell, that many agricultural business transactions aren’t easily replaced by technology.

Blackwell… “It’s very relational, and it’s a very general statement, but like Marcus, Farmer has had a relationship with Bill at Rabobank or one of his suppliers for the past 20 years. He cashed in on Mark. He gave credit. He provided me with insurance. He provided me with the financing for the equipment. And so you come up with this shiny new solution that you can potentially demonstrate the fact that they can have savings on their premiums, or potentially an interest rate reduction on how they plan to lend. And what interested us the most on the pitch is that sometimes it doesn’t matter. Because the built-in and rooted relationships in some of these regional agricultural banks make me trust this individual. I’ve done business with him for 20 years and this shiny new thing you have me put tags and collars on my cows and collect all of this information and give me all of my performance information to give me a better rate interest on my product loan. It’s hard.

Blackwell added that new solutions must provide immediate benefits, not just potential long-term benefits.


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