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Young Farmer of the Year behind new social media app for the agricultural community

YackerApp Founders agronomists Heath McWhirter and Emma Ayliffe.

Emma Ayliffe knows the power that comes with working together.

The 2021 Young Farmer of the Year has created a fledgling farming enterprise with her husband, a successful consultancy with her business partner, and completed a Master of Science in Agriculture along the way.

“I have been fortunate to have the support of so many people to get where I am, and have been given a wonderful opportunity through Farmer of the Year to create networks across the community, so it felt like a natural progression to strengthen those networks for everyone in agriculture,” said Emma.  

But Emma and her fellow agronomist at Summit Ag, Heath McWhirter found many people in the industry have not found a natural home on social media.

“A lot of people in agriculture are reluctant to post on platforms like Facebook and Twitter because they’re worried about backlash from people outside the industry,” said Heath.

“Most problems in agriculture need a conversation. For example, if someone rings Emma or I for a weed spray recommendation, it’s not an answer you can give in 280 characters.”

Emma said YackerApp was a way to turn observers into participants.

“For us it was about trying to give people the opportunity to connect on that deeper level so we set about designing an app that would create common ground from the start,” said Emma.

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Yacker App

Yacker is a platform designed to connect farmers, agronomists and other people who work or are involved in agriculture around Australia. It allows its users to ask questions and brainstorm ideas, to help improve their operations or understanding. The platform can be used to road test a new idea, to connect and support farming communities or to share and compare knowledge and experience through answering questions.
  • Location

    Australia Wide

  • Organisation type

    Startup or Scaleup or SME

The YackerApp platform
  • Learn more about YackerApp's investment opportunity via AgriFutures growAG. here.

By tagging crops, locations and industries, YackerApp allows people to find the answers and the relationships they need and at the same time helps support and grow the industry.

“When people sign up, they can select their interests – it might be cattle, sheep, cropping, corn or cotton,” said Emma.

“Someone can then post about an issue they’re having, and YackerApp will send a notification to all those people who have it as their interest so they can reply.”

YackerApp also offers a feature so often ignored by other apps - the ability to pick up the phone and have a real conversation. Users can easily and quickly respond to any post with a message saying they are willing to call or text.

“We know farmers and ag professionals like to talk on the phone to share ideas and solve problems while they’re on the go at work,” said Heath.

“Another thing the phone has allowed the app to do is keep everyone accountable because if there’s someone on there being a little negative there’s always someone in agriculture that will call them out, literally. We don’t get the keyboard warriors because you can always talk it out over the phone.”

With close to a thousand downloads across Australia and New Zealand, YackerApp has its sights set on being a go-to resource for the industry.

“We’ve been talking to people on the platform who are actively calling and having conversations, and the results they’ve been able to implement in their businesses have been phenomenal,” said Emma.

“That is why we keep driving it because we’ve seen so many examples of people solving very complex problems or opening up their minds to whole new production systems.”

Western New South Wales sheep grazier Scott Leslie said YackerApp assisted him when he was looking for some practical, on-farm advice.

“Yacker helped me connect with another grower and discuss my question of how to bury barley and store it in the ground for tight seasons,” said Scott.

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YackerApp is free and available to download on Android or from the Apple Store.

“It’s like agriculture’s phonebook,” said Heath. “You can type in a name and if they’re on YackerApp it will bring them up as a contact that you can call. We’ve got safeguards in place to prevent telemarketing.

For example, if someone is calling multiple people, multiple times in a day we can remove the user.”

Emma and Heath are now seeking investors to help fulfil the platform’s potential.

“We’ve had really good feedback from the whole ag community, and we are at a point where we need to take it to the next level,” said Heath.

"We're seeking investors to help fund user-experience modelling to better understand the needs and behaviours of users, the opportunities for improvement and to further enhance the platform's value proposition and reach."

Partnerships are also invited from investors specialising in platform user growth and engagement.

“We can make groups on the platform and we would love to partner with investors to explore the potential of this functionality,” said Emma.

For more details on YackerApp and the investment opportunity, view the listing on AgriFutures growAG. here.