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Olds College grad invents prize-winning app

Farmbucks enables farmers to compare grain prices instantly
WebPrize-winning AppLynnDargis
A prize-winning app, developed by Olds College grad Lynn Dargis enables farmers to compare crop prices quickly and conveniently. Submitted photo

OLDS — An Olds College grad who invented Farmbucks, a prize-winning app to compare grain prices says so far, she has no ideas for new apps. She just wants to continue refining this one.

Lynn Dargis received a diploma in agriculture production and management  in 2006.

Her parents passed away in 2007, shortly after she returned to the family farm in the Cold Lake, Bonnyville area.

So Dargis began running the farm.

That’s when she found grain pricing to be frustrating.

She wondered why no one had created a website or app that farmers could go to in order to instantly compare crop prices from several buyers.

Dargis said when she began farming about 12 years ago, she maybe talked to two buyers to determine who she’d sell her crops to. Now, she’s in contact with 15 or 16 companies in different locations.

“So it’s just a totally different world, right? And we have the technology to help farmers, so I figured, ‘what the heck?’

“Farmers are busy people. You’re working out in the fields, you’re trying to do a million things and by the time that you even have a chance to identify or even notice a pricing opportunity, either their offices are closed or the markets have changed,” she added.

“I want my hands on all the possible bids so we can really give a true picture of what’s available around a farmer.”

In 2017, Dargis began working on just such a product. First it was a website. Then the app was created.

After some refinement, the final version was rolled out in July 2019.

Earlier this year, it won the $25,000 grand prize during the Forum of Women Entrepreneurs’ Pitch for the Purse Finale in Vancouver.

“I ended up winning, lo and behold you know, this little farm girl out of Alberta,” she said with a laugh.

Last year, her product was named the farmer’s choice during Agri-Trade in Red Deer.

Dargis also received the Telus Pitch most promising startup award in Toronto, which was was chosen by Facebook and Samsung executives.

Dargis said it’s all part of enabling farmers to take advantage of today’s technology so they’re on an even footing with other apps that allow people to compare hotel or travel prices, for example.

“Farmers are really good at cutting costs on the input side and trying to grow the best food possible. But there’s a big lack of focus on the marketing end,” she said.

“And really, at the end of the day, everything we work so hard for all year long comes down to what we can sell it for, right? That’s where our money’s made or lost.”

Dargis has fond memories of her years at Olds College.

“Man, I love Olds,” she said.

“It was my second home there for a while, right? It was a good school.

“I just loved the hands-on experience and what I got to learn there. It was all I ever asked for.”