The founders are quietly celebrating the chorus of approval and interest that has greeted the launch of their ‘LinkedIn-for-farmers’. Limerick farmer, Geoff Dooley, and Wicklow vet, Tommy Heffernan, identified a social and professional ‘lack’ in their own online experience and realised that thousands of farmers and farm-related professionals must be experiencing similar frustrations.
“We set out to create and design a network that seems set – based on the initial response – to become a really fantastic and vibrant resource and tool for farmers. That personal experience really gives you the insight into what’s needed and how it’ll function. Co-Farm is the answer and we’re delighted and very encouraged with the response,” says Dooley.
They’re not the only ones who’ll be looking with interest. Several companies have already approached the pair about featuring, advertising and sponsorship opportunities, but they are adamant that the focus must initially be fixed on what Heffernan calls “perfecting the utility and function”.
“We have designed-in features and options that will attract farmers and – just through the range of advice and tools – will keep them engaged and interacting. They can build a profile for themselves and their farms and connect with like-minded farmers locally, nationally, and globally.’
For the launch, Co-Farm has made benchmarking and problem solving programs for managing milk quality available to dairy farmers. The founders’ vision is that Co-Farm will become a platform that hosts management tools and development programs relevant to all farming sectors and businesses.
“We want that friendly social dimension but we also want Co-Farm to take On-Farm queries, provide On-line advice that will give On-The-Money solutions,” continued the self-confessed ‘techie vet’. “Co-Farm comes at all these issues from the farmer’s corner and we do that unashamedly”.
‘The social network aspect of this means that Co-Farm provides news, advice and knowledge exchanges for farmer by the farmers. We know that the single most important component in successful enterprises is the development of good habits. Co-Farm is for the farmers who want to develop the good habits that will make them commercially successful and better people for having access to the full range of solutions and choice”, explained Geoff.
Coincidentally, Co-Farm has been chosen by Enterprise Ireland to feature in the prestigious Innovations Arena at next September’s Ploughing Championships. “We’re delighted to be selected by Enterprise Ireland who have embraced the principles and concept behind Co-Farm. We’re obviously happy to step forward as an Irish idea and we hope we bring that Irish sociability and verve to Co-Farm” stated Tommy.
But there are 570 million farmers in the world and Co-Farm operates on the principle that they have certain essentials in common that makes it important for them to get on the same social network page. Everyone pools their knowledge and problems and everyone takes out knowledge and answers, because amongst the 570 million there’ll be thousands with the exact answer for you”, explains the Limerick dairy farmer.
Co-Farm looks very likely to be the exact answer for thousands – maybe millions – of farmers worldwide.