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AgriClear adds to its services

Marketing: News Roundup from the August 2016 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

AgriClear, the online platform for selling and buying cattle across Canada and the U.S., has upgraded its service.

“The initial registration has been simplified and banking information is no longer required to create or negotiate a listing, explains AgriClear vice-president and founding partner David Moss. “We have also added the ability for producers to work with a licensed independent seller representative to help price, estimate weight and describe their cattle and we are looking to add more representatives across both countries.”

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Since it was launched last year AgriClear has formed marketing alliances with several industry partners such as the Canadian Beef Breeds Council and Nebraska Sandhills Cattle Association.

AgriClear is not an online auction. Rather, it is an online platform where buyers and sellers negotiate sales day or night where the payment is assured by a US$9 million bond taken out by Toronto-based TMX Group. All payments are settled through TMX Group’s subsidiary, NGX, a natural gas and electricity clearinghouse based in Calgary and Houston. Sale proceeds are held in trust and payment is released by electronic deposit into the seller’s account as soon as the cattle have been delivered and the buyer confirms that they meet contract specs.

AgriClear monitors all transactions from start to settlement, generating real-time electronic reports on offers, counter-offers, and the next steps in the process. The identities of both parties and contact information are provided when a deal is created, allowing the parties to negotiate details such as slide, shrink, delivery and weigh conditions.

As far as the technology and clearinghouse functions go, everything is working smoothly, according to Moss.

To upgrade the service they’ve added videos and tip sheets to the platform demonstrating the ins and outs of creating an attractive listing of the cattle using photos and video.

They’ve also added to their customer support team because many producers wanted some one-on-one help with postings and conducting transactions, particularly with cross-border sales, especially the first time around. They now have just shy of 20 people sprinkled across both countries.

That was one area that Hugh Skocdopole of Titan Livestock Inc. in Edmonton thought AgriClear could improve on after he purchased a set of feeder cattle through the system last fall. Everything went smoothly until it was realized that no one had arranged for the brand inspection.

“Buyers and sellers are supposed to work out these kinds of details, but it’s not a good situation if things get overlooked. AgriClear could use a system or checklist overseeing logistics to make sure all of the steps have been taken,” he suggests.

“AgriClear has its place. It’s a nice fit for marketing breeding stock,” he says based on his experience purchasing a bull through AgriClear.

“When bidding on feeder cattle, the length of the time lapse when negotiating a contract could cause issues for time-sensitive bids. If it’s evening before a seller checks for messages, it will be too late for buyers who base their bids on that day’s cattle futures prices. The security and payment end is a strength. Sellers are assured of payment and buyers have assurance knowing their payment won’t be released until the cattle have been delivered and okayed for quality,” Skocdopole adds.

Stan Cichon and family run a purebred Simmental operation, Wells’ Crossing Cattle Co., near Sundre, Alta., and listed all of their bull offerings on AgriClear this spring.

He was attracted by the fact the payment is assured, as that’s been a given with the marketing methods they’ve used in the past. AgriClear’s market reach across Canada and the U.S., low cost, convenience and service — walking him through the process — were other standouts in his mind.

“Pictures and videos of the bulls in their natural environment, pedigrees and anything a buyer would want to know about a purebred bull can be included and it didn’t cost anything until an animal was sold. The selling cost to me is reduced, so I can afford to sell to my customers at a lower price. It’s a win-win,” Cichon says.

The costs of putting on a sale, transporting and looking after animals for a couple of days at the sale venue are eliminated, the cattle aren’t stressed, and buyers aren’t under the pressure of an auction ring.

“Young folks love it. Older folks find the technology a bit intimidating, but I’m older and I’m learning because I think using the Internet is really the wave of the future,” he says. “The one thing missing is the social dimension, but we will find a way to show our appreciation because it’s personally important to us to connect with people.”

For more information, visit agriclear.com or call 1-844-AGRICLR (247-4257).

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