Finding a buyer for an “Amish modified” New Holland 273 mini baler might not be done easily through traditional advertisements, but a new online service aims to fill that niche.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Albany County announced its new online agricultural classified service and business directory, “Ag Exchange,” nearly a month ago, on Aug. 25. The service has been a little slow to take off, with around 31 classified postings and six directory postings as of Saturday, Sept. 20. The exchange website, which generally covers the Hudson Valley and Capital District, is hoped to become a vibrant community for beginners and experts alike.
Aaron Gabriel, of Washington County Cornell Cooperative Extension, and Warren County Extension staff member Amy Sabattis led development of the new service.
Gabriel, a crops and soil educator, said many farmers asked for a service like the new website.
“There have been a lot of good comments about it and folks from others parts of the state have asked to be a part of it,” said Gabriel. “One person had posted some turkeys he had for sale, and they sold in the first week or two.”
The first component of the website, agexchange.cce.cornell.edu, allows farmers to buy, sell, or rent agriculture-related equipment, products or services. The classified section is for wholesale business among traditional dairy, beef, field crop, fruit or vegetable farms, bees and maple, along with farms involved in brewing, distilling, artisan products, organic production, and non-GMO animal feeds. Pictures can also be posted with a listing.
Retail sales are not allowed on the website, so consumers should likely look elsewhere.
Gabriel said agriculture is “very active” and has become more diverse. The new agriculture industries are also spurring new farmers and producers.
“It is going to help people network together and make it a little easier to find folks to provide a service, such as sheep shearing or installing a fence,” Gabriel said. “Business is about networking really, and you have a to have a good network to make a business go … especially in farming.”
Tom Gallagher, livestock specialist for Albany County CCE, said for someone just starting out in agriculture it would be an “ideal” website.
“We are starting to see how local food movement has generated some interest in younger folks and getting them into farming,” said Gallagher. “Consumers are willing to pay a little more for something when they know how it is grown and where it is grown.”
The business directory aspect of the site is provided for commercial agriculture businesses to list its contact information and a link to their website. There are traditional machinery and feed dealers, but there also are smaller businesses focused on specialized services.
Users do not need to create an account or remember any passwords to use the website and can post items for free. Businesses are asked to make an annual donation to support Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Ag Exchange, along with linking to the regional website, ccecapitalregion.org, on its homepage.
Gallagher said the website should be easy enough for even non-Internet inclined people to use it and get something out of the experience.
“I think a lot of our farmers don’t particularly like reading things online, but this is a quick thing,” said Gallagher. “This is going to be a thing that is going to be helpful and it doesn’t cost them anything.”
Anyone with questions or comments about the website can contact Aaron Gabriel ([email protected] — 746-2560) or Amy Sabbatis, ([email protected] — 668-4881).