Stacking the Farm

A new site called Farmstacker may describe itself as an e-harmony for farmers, but the only relationships its founders want to help create are those between aspiring farmers and landowners.

Introducing farmers to those who can share their land, the Farmstacker founders wanted to come up with a way to increase stacked farming and rejuvenate nutrient cycles in farmland across the country. By having different farmers’ animals graze the same land, it could strengthen the farmland across the country, creating more space to grow food.

The site has gathered attention after winning Hack//Meat, a competition for the best ideas to bring new energy into the meat industry. Some team members first attended the convention in Silicon Valley as spectators or on other teams, and the Farmstacker team formed at the last minute and still won the top prize.

Rob Trice, one of the team members who joined from another team at the last minute before the competition started, said the team liked the idea of stacked farming—when multiple farmers utilize the same plot of land farming different things and having different animals graze it.

Stacked farming is more cost-effective for farmers, especially those just starting out or who have limited time to farm. As the project starts up, users will more likely be assigned areas to group farm, rather than their own land.

“We’re basically trying to harness a lot of interests coming together around the country about creating a better way to develop food around our country. There’s a lot of folks that want to get involved,” Trice said.

As more and more people become interested in farming and agriculture, shared and group farming has become more popular. The cost of land is undoubtedly expensive, and many are unable to invest in their own farm.

But with stacked farming, interested parties can regenerate land, bringing currently unusable land back into use at a lower cost.

Just weeks after winning the competition, Trice said there has been a large interest from Hack//Meat attendees and that the team has been planning the initial steps in setting up FarmStacker.

Trice said in between spreading the word about FarmStacker and meeting with potential partners and investors, their team has been focusing on how to quickly connect farmers to land.

“The first step is really helping to address the immediate point: lowering the barriers to get new farmers on the land, because right now the default model is that a new farmer has got to go off and buy land, and that’s cost-prohibitive,” Trice said.

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