Farmers Buy Inputs Cheaper Online

(p. B4) Brandon Sinclair spent $26,000 on herbicides for his corn and soybean fields last year, roughly half what he says he used to pay at his local co-operative.
The savings came from a source many U.S. farmers have been slow to tap: the internet.
Farmers have long made pilgrimages to farm stores and co-operatives to purchase seeds, fertilizer and weed and pest killers. Now, with a commodity glut pressuring crop prices and pushing farm incomes to an eight-year low, farmers are scouring the web for better deals on the products they use to grow their crops.
The shift could upend a decades-old system built around small-town suppliers that also offer farming advice and sell services such as spraying for weeds. Mr. Sinclair says the math is simple: Using savings found online, the 31-year old Illinois farmer was able to spring for a helicopter to wrangle his herd of cattle. Now he is urging his neighbors to shop online, too.
“I’ve always been kind of a tech guru and a tight-ass,” Mr. Sinclair said.

For the full story, see:
Jesse Newman and Jacob Bunge. “U.S. Farmers Buy in Bulk Online.”The Wall Street Journal (Fri., Feb. 17, 2017): B4.
(Note: bracketed date added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Feb. 16, 2017, and has the title “E-Commerce for Farmers: Shopping Online for $26,000 of Herbicides.”)

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