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Laying the groundwork for sustainable farm business

 The purpose of this project was to explore farm equipment sharing models.  Four Greenbrier Valley farms and the DS team developed this plan for a pilot a farm equipment sharing program. The team has developed this plan and framework for ensuring the safety, efficacy, and fair distribution of shared resources among participants that includes strategies for acquiring new implements.

As part of the planning process, it was decided that not all equipment is worth sharing due to difficulty transporting, investment in equipment, and potential for breakdown. This project will not focus on heavy groundbreaking or clearing equipment. Additionally, due to cost and scheduling this program did not look at sharing tractors or hay equipment.

More information on the NESARE project can be found here in the NESARE database.

Details:

Project Membership and Participation Requirements

To be successful, this program will require compatibility between member farms on a variety of levels. These include:

  • Skill level and ability to safely operate equipment
  • Types of production and equipment types needed
  • Terrain of member farms
  • Personalities
  • Geographic area, due to the potential distances needed to transport.


Participating Farms are required to hold Farm Liability Insurance and this project recommends that participating farms contact their insurance providers to ensure that their policies cover their equipment and/or borrowed equipment (more info below). 

Insurance:

  • Required:
    • Farm Liability Insurance – Required – Standard policy up to 1 million.
  • Strongly suggested:
    • Equipment Insurance – check with your policy to see if your equipment is covered. *If not, the program is not liable for damages
    • Rent/Borrow Insurance – check policy to see if you are covered if you are using rented/borrowed equipment on-farm, or if your equipment is being used off-farm. *If not the program is not liable for damages.


Sources consulted during the project indicated that these are all easy to add to polices and depending on coverage levels, have minimal costs. This may vary depending on your insurance provider. 

Sign up and Participation Process
The first step for participation in the Small Farm Equipment Share program is for potential producers  to contact the Resource Sharing Manager.  The Manager will confirm insurance coverage, sign agreement and  begin collecting equipment information & schedules.   


Once equipment info sheets, schedules have been collected, the manager will email out the list of available implements to all members weekly throughout the season.

 Cost /Maintenance fee
There are no rental costs associated with the program, however, to help cover the costs of repair or maintenance, each time farms use a piece of equipment, they will pay into the maintenance fund for that piece of equipment.  Cost breakdown as follows:

  • $20 – small equipment – low maintenance
  • $30 – middle range equipment, regular maintenance
  • $50 – equipment with high wear/tear and maintenance costs, expensive equipment


 Equipment owners will indicate the maintenance cost level on the profile sheets.

Resource Sharing

Equipment Sharing Farm Enrollment open for 2017! 

If you are a farm located in the Greenbrier River Valley, you may be eligible to join the Farm Equipment Sharing project at Sprouting Farms.   Please contact the Equipment Sharing Manager, Brad Moody, at 304-445-2732 


All farms participating are required to carry farm liability insurance.

Click here to download the 2017 handbook

Click here to download the 2017 participation agreement.

In 2016 Downstream Strategies & Sprouting Farms received a Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Partnership Grant to explore equipment sharing models in the Greenbrier Valley.  This project "Developing an Equipment Sharing Model in the Rural Appalachian Landscape of Southern West Virginia" operated from March 2016- April 2017.   

In 2016-2017 this project was combined with the Sprouting Farms project located near Talcott WV. This will provide access to additional equipment and bulk buying resources.