Small and Mid-size Farm Efficiency Ecosystem

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2018-33610-28955
Agency Tracking Number: 2018-00190
Amount: $99,950.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.12
Solicitation Number: N/A
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-09-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-12-31
Small Business Information
11 BOYCE FARM RD, Lincoln, MA, 01773-4812
DUNS: 080838082
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Kurt MacLaurin
 Partner and Principal Designer
 (617) 803-2315
 kurt@boslabs.com
Business Contact
 Kurt MacLaurin
Title: Partner/Principal Designer
Phone: (617) 803-2315
Email: kurt@boslabs.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
Small farms are critical to the futureof America. Small farms promote and sustain communities, create jobs, improve the health of the land and of the people who live on it. Currently small to mid-sized farms raising pasture-based livestock have been left to invent/build their own feeding/watering systemsand are at a disadvantage to large, fully automated, high-efficiency systems on large scale farms. There remains a gap in manufactured equipment that caters to small farmsand the dynamic environment of pastures they raise their animals in. This discrepency is a disadvantage for current farmers and a deterrant for the next generation of farmers interested inpasture-based farming.We seek to research, design and develop a simple system of mobile equipement farmers can use to feed their flocks and increase efficiency up to 75%. We approached this project from several angles and categorize our main goals as follows:1. Increase hardware efficiency. We are designing a unique mobile feeding system that will enable farmers to increase their efficiency during feeding/watering while maintaining healthy, pasture-raised animals. This will reduce wasted time and make their products more competitive while also increasing quality of life for farmers and their families.2. Technology efficiency. We are developing a simple, wireless ecosystem that will enable farmers to monitor their remote flocks/herds and their feed levels. This technology is proven and robust. Saving time traveling from flock to flock will further increase farmers effeciency. Mobile management will also allow farmers to minimize feeding errors that lead to loss of production and income.3. Scale-ability. We want our systems to grow with farmers. Farming equipment, land, etc can be expensive and we seek to ensure farmers are not saddled with large sums of debt. We chose to build our system using industry standard equipment to minimize expenses and allow more small farmers to utilize these systems. Each system will be capable of feeding/watering small flocks of 50-100 hens and expand to feed 800-1,000 hens with minimal investment/effort. Compare this to the current method of pasture-based farmers who accumulate labor intensive feeding pans/trays as their flocks/farms grow. As their flocks grow, so does the time investment to manage, feed and water the flock. With our system the same time investment to feed 100 hens is required to feed 1,000.Our team is led by active farmers and supported by technical industry leaders ready and excited to make a difference or small farmers across the country.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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