KANSAS CITY—On Wednesday KansasCity-based company FarmLink announced a $40 million Series B round of equity funding led by OpenAir Equity Partners. The funding will help the company expand its TrueHarvest services to farmers in several other states.
Millbrook, NY-based Thorndale Farm LLC, newly established investment firm Early Investments and private investors Don Walsworth and John Rose also contributed to the round.
The company launched a beta test of TrueHarvest, a service that produces the data needed to identify where field productivity could be improved on farmland, in June this year. The TrueHarvest service is currently only available for corn and soybean field, but plans for wheat fields are in the works for the future.
“We plan to launch TrueHarvest in most, if not all, of the 26 states we operate in by this fall,” FarmLink chairman and CEO Ron LeMay told SPN. LeMay—who has been associated with FarmLink for 14 years, first as an investor and later as the CEO—was determined to take a leadership role when FarmLink began to transition into big technology with the TrueHarvest initiative.
The TrueHarvest service was created by FarmLink in an effort to give farmers an accurate and reliable standard to measure how well their fields were producing compared to fields with similar topographic and environment variables. The company had the resources needed to create this service from its fleet of 200 combines that farmers lease during the harvesting season. By attaching data collecting equipment to these machines, FarmLink has been able to gather over a trillion data elements for its benchmarking data set. From this information, the company was able to create a yield standard for farmers to utilize.
“We help farmers understand what is possible in their field,” FarmLink’s president Scott Robinson told SPN. “We want to tell them where the performing potential is.”
Robinson, who’s been with the company for almost three years now, was brought on for his knowledge of benchmarking, developed at companies like consulting firms Oliver Wyman and McKinsey. Robinson says he joined the FarmLink team because he recognized the company had a unique idea with a lot of potential.
“When we talk to the farming community and get their reaction a lot of people say they’ve never seen this before,” he said.
Though benchmarking is new to the agriculture industry, it can be seen in many others.
“Financial institutions have done this for a long time, banks against other banks,” LeMay said. “Agriculture can benefit from benchmarking to the same extent, if not a greater extent, as other industries.”