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With the farming industry valued at $825 billion and agriculture ranked as one of the top five business-to-business e-commerce opportunities, there is no wonder why farmers are looking to the Internet as a way of staying abreast of industry news, keeping in touch with peers, and finding new means to increase efficiency and productivity - without increasing overhead. And there's no wonder why is looking to satisfy those farmers.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service found that from 1997 to 1999, the percentage of farmers gaining access to the Internet leads or matches the general public in 40 states.

Before the wave of the Internet, buying and selling farm equipment and products required travel to the nearest town. Today, farmers are increasingly turning to the Internet to cut deals and attend auctions. Auction categories on include tractors, parts, tools, technology, livestock, crops and forage, produce, country store and supplies. Discount drug brands from recognized companies may also be purchased. Due to the speed of the Internet, an extreme number of products can be sold within 30 seconds.

" is to agricultural markets what and are to the masses," said Ted Farnsworth, CEO and founder of "It's a part of their life as they trade or sell items like tractors, combines and even livestock."

Bringing farmers together in a virtual community is another major feature of the Web site. The Community section features include discussion groups and chat rooms, a section for humor called 'Farm Jokes,' and a cookbook that lists mouth-watering recipes. also offers a unique 'Wanted' section where farmers can post listings of items they are seeking.

Updated daily, noteworthy industry news is featured on the site's home page, in addition to Department of Agriculture reports and news features relevant to large- and small-scale farmers. It also offers real-time, localized weather reports which are updated every twenty minutes. was created to serve as a tool to keep farmers equipped with up-to-the minute news, weather, and industry information. To date, more than 90,000 farmers have registered with and 10 percent of the site's traffic is international." Farnsworth says, "By using these easily accessible services, farmers can stay informed and ultimately increase their farm's efficiency and profitability."

In order to make the site easily accessible to farmers, is continuously securing strategic partnerships. For example, last year announced a long-term sponsorship commitment with the National FFA organization.

Recently, announced its partnership with Alliance Logistics, which facilitates the site to provide turnkey e-commerce and distribution logistics to animal health suppliers. Users will be provided with a viable and highly effective way to purchase health supplies via the Internet. Manufacturers of animal health supplies can reach farmers and veterinarians seamlessly through's comprehensive procurement solution.

In addition, has been working closely with Rosenbluth International, a world-class customer-service company, to build a platform for top-of-the-range customer care for farmers. Farmers will benefit from this complete customer-service solution where both online and offline users can ask any technical-, functional- or product-related question by means that are most convenient and comfortable for them, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Through the Rosenbluth International partnership, will be working with Rosenbluth Interactive, an online affiliate of Rosenbluth International, to provide travel services to farmers using will provide users with customized, around-the-clock travel services using Rosenbluth Interactive's online and offline travel services.

"The Internet is a valuable tool for farmers," says Farnsworth. " is proud to be a major resource for farmers and is delighted to provide them with so many benefits." AM


Sandra Sanchez is an agricultural expert for L&L Communications in Deerfield Beach, Fla.

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