When John Curtis, of Manhattan, needed to sell some cattle quickly, his first instinct was to head on over to the sale barn. But his son Matthew, who works for him at AgTech, convinced him to try a new app, HitchPin.
They did. Within a week, someone from the other end of Riley County came over and loaded up their cattle in a truck. The same thing happened with their hay.
"We were pretty impressed," Matthew Curtis said. "There are opportunities through it (HitchPin)."
HitchPin is a specifically designed agriculture app that brings together buyers and sellers. HitchPin’s inventor, founder and CEO Trevor McKeeman, of Manhattan, started the app two years ago. Since then, users have multiplied, so much so that a staff of two turned into a staff of more than 20.
"It’s growing really fast," McKeeman said. "The Kansas farm kid in me is excited."
Along with being located in Kansas and having many vendors in the Sunflower State, HitchPin has spiraled nationwide, with sales in more than 40 states. From selling livestock to agricultural supplies and services, this app serves the rural community for a low cost — a small percentage of the sale.
In addition to farmers hiring for custom work, consumers are able to buy directly from the farmer. And, like many other virtual apps, all charges are run through a third party. Once a transaction is completed, the seller is paid. Until then, the money is held in escrow. No one has to send an invoice or chase down their neighbor.
"We’re kind of changing the game in how farming is done," McKeeman said. "We want to set a tone that is very pro-farmer."
A few months ago, Bruce Figger, a mobile large-animal veterinarian based out of Sylvia, decided to give the site a try. Along with offering standard veterinary services, Figger, who runs South Wind Animal Health, is among a handful of veterinarians in the area who offer animal chiropractic care. In addition to his veterinary license, Figger, a native of Hudson, was trained in animal chiropractic at Options for Animals: College of Animal Chiropractic in Wellsville. In order to practice this skill, one must be licensed/trained and be either a veterinarian or chiropractor.
"I heard about them (HitchPin) in a beef magazine," Figger said. "It doesn’t cost anything to put your ad in."
Figger keeps telling others about the service, understanding that the more people use it, the faster it will grow. Each vendor can list as many options as they need.
"I’m excited to see where it goes," Figger said. "The more people that are on it, the more that are going to use it."
McKeeman is helping farmers succeed by selling services and goods on a secure site. He understands there is a need for brick-and-mortar businesses, but he also wants to help farmers succeed in any way he can.
"We’ve built the marketplace," McKeeman said. "Now it’s time to stock the shelves."