There are nearly 19 million people in the US who live in food deserts. In 2019, there were 208,000 people living in food deserts in Indianapolis - that’s 22% of the city’s population. 1,009,710 people in Indiana are food insecure - that’s 15% of the state. There is a gap when it comes to Indiana farmers and Indiana households. Many farmers only have relationships with grocery stores or food processors and manufacturers. In 2019, the state faced many crop failures, as flooding was at an all time high. In the first few months of 2020, farmers started to see a light at the end of the tunnel, and then COVID-19 hit. Our goal is to also help these farmers who are dealing with the financial repercussions of these two devastations.
Our solution is in building a website that gives Indiana farmers a platform while also bridging the gap between them and Indiana families. This includes a social page where farmers can give updates on in season produce, on sale items, or anything that will help grow interest in their farm, as well as a sponsor farmer page where customers can buy food/seed directly from their local farmers.
According to the Indiana Department of Agriculture, farming contributes around $31.2 billion annually to our state’s economy. There are around 94,000 farmers within the state, and we hope to reach as many as we can, considering 80% of the state is farmland.
Given the fact that our state is 80% farmland, lots of agtech and agscience companies have invested in our state. In 2018, Solinftec expanded their headquarters into Indiana’s Purdue Research Park, planning to invest $50.6 million in this new location. Within the state, our main competition consists of Solinftec, AgriNovus Indiana, and Inari. Solinftec and Inari are both talent pipelines located on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus. These companies are great for the hard science and chemistry that goes into agriculture, yet in terms of statewide agriculture networking sites, the options are slim to none. This is why BumperCrop stands out - it’s a network that’s more accessible to farmers who want more recognition within the everyday consumer market and Indiana residents who want an easier way to buy fresh.
Customer segment: We’re looking to connect two groups between Indiana farmers so they may be able to best promote themselves and their fresh, trusted produce to households in Indiana to further the support behind agriculture on a modern, online platform. Value Prop: BumperCrop delivers on bringing fresh produce to Indiana homes while also creating a statewide network for supporting farmers and bolstering their returns on selling produce. Customer Relations: Once a farmer decides on using our services, they will be supported by our team to easily and effectively provide products through our website. Our process is backed by a lack of barriers to entry for farmers less acclimated to online servicing, allowing for an easy setup and tutorial for farmers to promote themselves. We will also send them monthly reports on their site engagements, which will include profile clicks and overall revenue made from BumperCrop alone. This revenue will mostly come from crop delivery. Key trends: Many farmers produce for food processors and manufacturers, and a lot of them do not have relationships with everyday families when it comes to business. However, this does not mean that it is not possible or feasible, we just need to make it easier for both parties. Channels: Our channels will include our website/app and produce deliverers. Revenue: Our revenue streams will come from advertisements on farming websites and social media, delivery, and farmers markets.
Marketing and Sales
Our marketing will consist of advertising through farming websites and social media, billboards, bumper stickers, and pop ups at farmers markets.
Progress to Date
So far, we have already made our website with several functions. We have also surveyed several farmers and even interviewed one of them, David Lamb from Lamb Farms. These farmers have given us a good understanding of what we need to deliver when it comes to their needs.
In the first three months of our launch, September through November 2021 we will start working on simple technical upgrades like user registration and authentication as well as cloud hosting. Then we want to demo our idea to a group of around nine farmers. We will choose three of each large scale, medium scale, and small scale farmer. This will help us get the best idea of what each farmer needs, and how to adjust our business to cater to everyone. This will be $27,000, as we will pay each farmer $3,000 for their three month pilot run. After these months of feedback, we will review anything we could fix according to the pilot farmers and then interview them. In December, we will bring on a sales and marketing advisor who will pitch their best ideas for us and help us recruit two more farmers to be beta users. We will need $60,000 to pay them. Towards the end of December, we will introduce the beta version to more farmers and continue this trial period through February. During March through May, we will also begin advertising on Indiana farm and new websites to get the word out. We’ll set up tables at farmers markets when it gets warmer because these participants will be a huge portion of our target audience. Finally, in June 2022, we will officially launch BumperCrop as a website and app! This will cost around $608,000 to pay for our own delivery drivers in several different counties, pay our sales and marketing department, and to pay for advertisements.