E-Commerce Down On The Farm

In yet another example of how e-commerce is being applied all across the economy, Ag Services of America launched an information ande-commerce Web site yesterday with the support and participation of leading agriculture manufacturers. The new Powerfarm.com Web site is catering to a quiet niche in the cyber universe — farmers. “Today, nearly 30 percent of American farmers have Internet access” said Brad Schlotfeldt, Vice President of Finance for Ag Services. “That number has grown over 120 percent since 1997 and continues to increase.”

The company’s customers consist primarily of corn and soybean producers in the central United States.

Financing Options

Aside from information and products, the site is offering complete operating financing through Ag Services’ existing AgriFlex Credit program. This option provides farmers with credit for product purchases on or off the Web site and cash advances for operating expenses such as land, rent or fuel.

In addition, the company has developed a new product, Powerfarm Credit, which is a financing program available for the purchase of products and services exclusively on the Powerfarm.com Web site. It extends credit and provides farmers the convenience of purchasing and financing a wide variety of name brand farm inputs from a single source at competitive prices.

Inputs offered by the company include seed, fertilizer, agricultural chemicals, crop insurance, and cash advances for operating expenses such as land, rent, fuel and irrigation.

Farmers have been reliant upon information for decades, which presents a strong case for Internet use. The site includes current agricultural news, weather, market quotes and comprehensive product data as well as flexible financing and the most extensive selection of name brand agriculture products available on the Internet.

The site will initially feature products produced by Monsanto, Dekalb, Novartis Seed, Asgrow, Garst, American Cyanamid, Zeneca and Bayer.

Growing Niche In Cyberspace

Another site, DirectAg.com, was launched in August as the Internet’s only comprehensive information source, community forum and marketplace expressly for farming businesses.

The site also features ag-specific news, weather reports, commodity pricing and other information, while offering farmers the ability to interact with their peers, pose questions to online agronomy experts and compare, finance and purchase products online.

“The Internet is quickly changing the way the American farmer accesses knowledge and conducts business. We intend to make DirectAg.com the online destination for the nation’s commercial producers by providing them swift, easy access to a wide array of product choices and in-depth information to make knowledgeable decisions, ” said Kip Pendleton, DirectAg.com founder and chief executive officer.

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