Improving Small Farm Profitability
“Get big or get out” has been an all-to-common theme in agriculture. But could technology help slow or reverse farm consolidation? Zack Smith created the StockCropper, which allows farmers to graze poultry and livestock in between rows of crops and market direct to consumer livestock. He hopes this can make smaller farms more profitable.
Smith… “So there's going to be two paths in agriculture in the future. There's going to be the path of the chase of commodity low cost production grow as much as you can. And then there's going to be an alternative path where you're focused on trying to grow something that's more value added. And that's really the space that I'm interested in. And I mean, this is a system that I think if we can get our costs to where we think we can get them on these barns, that we can design a farming system that could market to consumer classes where you could make a living on 160 acres instead of needing 1600 or 16,000.”
Smith would like to see farm profitability on a smaller acreage bring more people back to rural communities.
Smith… “For those that want to be in production agriculture, but their family only owns 80 acres or 160. So can you afford to have a $400,000 combine to farm that in the current paradigm? No, absolutely not. But if you could have a system where you could have equipment that could help you create value on that smaller acreage and a system to market that to people that want that? That's really what I'm interested in.”
Smith plans to offer these mobile grazing units for sale in the coming year.