The Alberta Forage Industry Network is creating a new buy-and-sell website for ranchers and farmers.
“It’s basically going to be like Kijiji for farmers,” said AFIN director Amber Kenyon. “This will give us a good way to sell our stuff and to be able to buy farm equipment. We’re looking at hay, forage and livestock; a bunch of things.”
Producers used be able to turn to Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Ropin’ the Web — but it was taken down in early 2019. The hay and livestock sales portion of the website was quite popular with many producers.
“I was told by some senior managers from the government that they wanted AFIN to take care of this,” said Surya Acharya, an Agriculture Canada forage breeder and chair of the organization.
The province is also putting up funding ($355,000 via the Canadian Agricultural Partnership program). It is meant to cover costs for three years with the expectation the new website — called Farming The Web — will become self-sustaining.
“This is a really exciting project for us to embark on,” said Kenyon. “It will give AFIN a chance to get our name out there and make forages a really big thing within Alberta. That’s what we really want — to see forages grow.”
“Our stature will improve,” added Acharya. “That was one reason why I was very much interested in it,” he said.
Farming The Web is being developed by Edmonton website and software company Paper Leaf, which has built websites and apps for FireSmart and CKUA, and software for Elections Alberta.
“We take applications, websites and mobile websites from idea to launch to support. We’re not a design shop that outsources development,” said company CEO Jeff Archibald. “We’re not a development shop that builds things that are hard to use on the design end. We take things from end to end. That’s what we’re good at,” Archibald told the group.
The new website should be up and running in about four to six months and will work on mobile phones, tablets, laptop and desktop computers, said Archibald.
There is a wide range of tech users within our agricultural industry,” said Kenyon. “We will be rolling it out to everyone all at once. There will be stuff to buy there, and you will be able to sell stuff.”