UL lecturer is mastermind behind app to help farmers save for a rainy day

Federica Montella

Reporter:

Federica Montella

Email:

news@limerickleader.ie

UL lecturer is mastermind behind app to help farmers save for a rainy day

Dr John Garvey created new app

A NEW free app has been developed to help farmers and suppliers make investment decisions and cope with the financial issues that bad weather conditions bring.

FarmHedge which was created by UL senior lecturer Dr John Garvey aims to reduce costs for both users and suppliers by allowing farmers to book deliveries of feed, fertilizer or animal health products from their regular suppliers.

It also provides precise weather risk information and alerts, combining forecasts with the farm’s 10-year weather history.

Mr Garvey’s personal experience has provided him with a good knowledge on farming and inspired him to create the app.

“I grew up in a farm in Ennis and I spent my life working with my father and my brother. We still work together when time allows. In UL, some of my teaching relates to how energy companies can transfer the financial risk of weather. In farming, I wanted to figure out a mechanism so that farmers can get compensated if weather is very wet or cold,” he said.

FarmHedge provides a venue for suppliers where they can view all farmers in the country on a map, select a group of users that are in a particular location and make them a bulk offer – it saves suppliers distribution costs, and it allows farmers to get lower costs.

The app was officially launched in September 2016, and it has already more than 1500 users based around the country. The company’s priority at the moment is to build the number of farmers and suppliers that participate on the app and to get funding to expand the platform beyond Ireland.

Mr Garvey has been working in the University of Limerick since 2002 and he is now a senior lecturer in risk management and insurance.

“I love interacting with students and meeting very unique, different people every year. I also love the research I do. It is really nice to take an idea that I have developed within a research and turn it into a business,” he said about his experience in UL.

His education was not traditional; he graduated in English and Economics at the National University of Ireland (Galway), and he defines his literary studies as “the most important and enjoyable part” of his education:

“I love the whole process of writing, making an argument scientifically sound. My English studies framed the way I think about economy and society, they had a major influence in my education. My app for example tries to connect farmers that are working every day in isolation from a commercial aspect, and it takes an understanding of society to do so”.

Dr Garvey has two awards for teaching, a number of research and teaching experiences in Europe and US and several publications.

When he was asked about the thing he values the most in terms of experience and success, he had no hesitation:

“Travel. Living and working in a different environment, or travelling for its own sake is hugely valuable. My experience in New York has been extremely eye-opening and rewarding. When I started studying Arts in Galway I didn’t really have a plan to become a lecturer, I just kept falling into different things. The most important thing is probably always enjoying what you’re doing,” he added.