US grain-trading platform Bushel has acquired FarmLogs, a farm management app aimed at row crop operations. Through the takeover, it will be able to connect on-farm management data across tens of thousands of growers responsible for 40% of the grain originating in the US.
Neither startup commented on the financial aspects of the transaction. The separate FarmLogs brand will live on, but its employees will join Bushel.
The acquisition bucks the trend of larger, established agribusiness players scooping up startups to bring tech in-house. Fargo, North Dakota-based Bushel launched in 2017, while Michigan’s FarmLogs started in 2011.
Back in 2017, FarmLogs co-founder Jesse Vollmar had voiced his opposition to any ‘Big Ag’ buyout of the company.
“It makes perfect sense that you would connect [FarmLogs and Bushel] because we are both playing a part in the same ecosystem. It made sense to put them under one roof and go after it more strategically,”he told AFN today.
Jake Joraanstad, co-founder and CEO at Bushel, says that the thinking behind the acquisition was driven by the realization that there was a crucial missing piece in the startup’s service offering.
“We know a lot about what happens after [grain] leaves the farm, hits the facility, and goes to the processor. But a lot of our customers are looking at all these programs that they’d like to do with their farmers, and the missing component is the actual activity that happened to produce the crop,” he told AFN.
The two companies realized that farmers were likely double-entering data from Bushel regarding their scale tickets, grain contracts, and other information.
Bushel’s platform integrates with multiple grain accounting systems, trading desks, farm management systems, insurance companies, and market feeds to allow different software systems in the grain handling chain to work with one other. Farmers can use it for free, while grain companies must pay a fee.
FarmLogs has a similar aim around digitalization and efficiency, but is focused on growers.
With both startups under one roof, data can now flow back and forth between FarmLogs’ farm-level view of an operation, and Bushel’s post-farm gate appreciation of the supply chain.
Bushel is now planning to offer farmers a “grain passport” that could ease some of the enrollment and verification requirements for programs involving things like identity preservation, crop insurance, and sustainability.
It has also been plotting a fintech play for the near future.
“We are launching it this fall, and I think it is going to change how people perceive how money moves around in the world of agriculture,” Joraanstad says.
“With all of this information flowing automatically, the farm experience begins to be very much like what you would expect in the 21st century. Tools that show transactions automatically or that allow you to categorize them, like Mint, is an experience that just has not existed for the farmer.”
For now, Bushel is focused on executing its acquisition of FarmLogs and helping farmers navigate the expanded offerings. With both companies having spent plenty of time in the startup foxhole, they are up for the task, Vollmar says.
“This is what both of our teams do and we’re really great at it: Trying to push the limits of an industry and move it forward, get the hard stuff done that other people aren’t willing to do, and grind through some really challenging problems.”