RanchNetwork.com to provide online agricultural community, marketplace
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In a high-tech world where seemingly everything goes online, it's only natural for the agricultural community to follow.
A new website has Victoria at the center of that digital growth.
Jesse Y. Womack III and Ed Lipkins recently launched RanchNetwork.com, a site geared toward creating a free online agricultural marketplace and community. Through the page, producers can sell and locate everything from cattle to hay, while businesses can alert others of the services they offer.
"How do you go out there and find someone to help you build a fence or manage your ranch?" asked Womack, who was born and raised in San Antonio, but made frequent trips to his father's family ranch in McFaddin. "We think this will help people make those local connections, especially if they're new to the area."
Inspiration for the digital endeavor came in October, Lipkins said, after conversations about the difficulty that came with filling jobs and the like.
Although neither founder had a background in programming, they took their idea and ran with it. They connected with a Web host, honed in the idea and made that final leap July 24, when the site launched.
The company started with two hubs - Durham, N.C., where Lipkins lives, and Victoria, where they said made sense because of the large agricultural community. From there, he said, they could spread the word about the company, register new entities and grow from there.
Initial numbers look promising, Lipkins said, noting that more than 1,000 visitors have accessed the site since its launch.
With things up and running, the duo said the next step is visiting with producers and feed stores. They also plan to host booths at agricultural events to get their name out there.
Feedback is also important, Lipkins said, noting the only way to ensure the site remains relevant and successful is for it to provide necessary services.
"We certainly do not believe that we know everything," Lipkins said. "We want our users to tell us what they need or want."
Womack said he hoped to see the site do well with time, but said he also hoped it made a difference.
"It's a tough business right now," he said, noting that market volatility, weather and other factors all play their roles. "Anything that can add a little bit to somebody's bottom line, or help someone find work is worth it."