From sow to grow, how Ag Assist started.
Co-Founder Tony Dodunski
It started back in 2021 when I read the Uber & Air BnB book. I am an equity manager on a 650 cow farm and I know first-hand the challenges of finding workers, especially when Covid hit NZ. That’s when the lightbulb moment happened. I had a beer and a yarn with a bunch of Lincoln University students and got insights into their work challenges – they and a lot of other people in society were keen to work, but there was no clear link for us farmers to access them.
By the end of 2021, The Ag Assist concept was born, with the goal of creating a platform that links hardworking Kiwis with farming businesses. The Ag Assist model acts as the bridge, connecting individuals in society who cannot commit to full-time work, such as students, stay-at-home parents, semi-retired individuals, and those seeking additional income plus heaps more, with opportunities on farms
Everyone involved in Ag Assist are proud Farming people – we love farming and always will; but we are struggling to find and hold staff on our farms. The Ag Assist platform is another tool in the toolbox to try and help alleviate some of the pressures we are feeling in our great sector.
In early 2022 we started small, quietly rolling out a basic version in Selwyn, Canterbury. Our proof-of-concept idea clocked in over 14,000 hours. A lot of those hours really got farmers out of the trouble, and most pleasingly, we proved that there is a reliable labour source already here in our communities, and that the Ag Assist concept could in fact find and link them onto farms.
Fast forward to March ’23, and we knew we were onto something good. We raised capital, welcomed 13 new shareholders, refined our concept, and here we are – launching Version 2 in November ’23.
Cheers to growth, hardworking Kiwis, the NZ Farming Sector, and making Ag Assist a reality.