This year’s feed shortage hastens launch of new website

The Alberta Forage Industry Network tried to get Farming the Web running as soon as possible this summer because of producers’ need to buy and sell products such as feed. | Jeannette Greaves photo

Farming the Web was developed as a digital marketplace where producers are able to conduct business with each other

The Alberta Forage Industry Network has launched an online classified site called Farming the Web. A need for this service is great because the ongoing drought has depleted feed.

Farming the Web was originally created as an alternative to Ropin’ the Web, a classified website originally run by the Alberta government until it was discontinued. AFIN called the new website a “Kijiji for farmers.”

“This site is for producers, by producers,” said Grant Lastiwka, a director with AFIN.

“We want a site where farmers go to other farmers… very much communicating with their peers. And we kind of called it a handshake site. So the integrity of producer to producer, the fact that this integrity continues, as people know that this site is for them, by them.”

Lastiwka said many people were discouraged when the government discontinued Ropin’ the Web, which was one of the reasons the network decided to launch its own.

AFIN tested the site in 2020 to get feedback from producers. In 2021, as issues arose with the drought, it tried to launch it as fast as it could.

“We wish it was June, because in June, people were starting to get really concerned and starting to do things,” Lastiwka said.

“And that was the time where they really were making moves, some were selling cattle, others were buying ahead… so with all of those things. it would have been nice to have been open sooner.”

“It was a push to launch at a time where it was going to be useful.”

Lastiwka said launching earlier not only would have given producers more of an opportunity to utilize the website, it also would have given the website more of a chance to grow before it was needed.

“Knowing that in a time of shortfall and a time of prices that can be quite high, they’re (producers) relying a lot on connections. And some of those connections could be provided by this site,” Lastiwka said.

“But this site is just getting its toes wet. It has really not hardly had a chance to be used like we’d like.”

However, Lastiwka said if more producers begin using the site, it could sell more things needed in this tough year, such as feed.

“A site is only as good as the use it gets and the integrity of the producers using it, so please take advantage of this opportunity to deal with your peers and communicate with your peers.”

For more content related to drought management visit The Dry Times, where you can find a collection of stories from our family of publications as well as links to external resources to support your decisions through these difficult times.

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