Insurtech, Data Help Canadian Farmers Cut Lending, Insurance Costs

By Ashley Robinson | December 12, 2019

Canadian farmers — grappling with with lower crop income, adverse weather and a trade dispute with China — are using precision-agriculture technology aimed at reducing lending and insurance costs.

Collecting intricate crop data allows individual farmers to outline potentially limited risk to banks and insurers, Tristan Skolrud, an assistant professor in the agricultural and resource economics department at the University of Saskatchewan, said in a telephone interview.

In an industry facing tight margins, the savings can mean the difference between making a profit and wrestling with lower income or losses for grain and canola. Companies including Bayer AG, Deere & Co. and Cargill Inc. have expanded in precision agriculture.

Farmers Edge, a Winnipeg, Manitoba-based precision agriculture company, is debuting a platform to allow customers to use data for bank loans. The new offering, along with the firm’s InsurTech product that began in July, takes the focus away from equity and spotlighting “best-in-class farmers” with top yields, Chief Executive Officer Wade Barnes said in a phone interview.

Farmers Edge investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Mitsui & Co.

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