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FarmLink Closes $40 Million Equity Round

Investors expand commitment to FarmLink's TrueHarvest, a unique agricultural yield benchmarking and measurement service

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Aug. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- FarmLink, a Kansas City, Mo.-based company that provides a suite of innovative services to help farmers maximize their productivity, today announced the closing of a $40 million Series B financing. OpenAir Equity Partners is leading the investors, which also includes existing investors Thorndale Farm, LLC, private investors Don Walsworth and John Rose, and new investor Early Investments.

"As the only provider of yield benchmarking in agriculture, FarmLink is changing how farmers measure performance and make investment decisions," said Ron LeMay, Chairman and CEO of FarmLink. "Without the required data and analytics, agriculture hasn't been able to utilize this important measurement capability, used successfully by other industries for years. FarmLink is changing that fact. Our TrueHarvest solution is transforming the agriculture industry by providing actionable information that farmers can use to determine how and where to apply their resources and objectively measure results."

This equity round comes on the heels of a significant announcement between the American Soybean Association (ASA) and FarmLink, launching "Operation Benchmark", a first-of-its-kind partnership that will promote TrueHarvest to members and prospects of the ASA.

"The closing of our equity round and our recently announced partnership with the ASA show how FarmLink is positioned to change the landscape of data services in agriculture," said Scott Robinson, FarmLink's President. "With continued investment and strong relationships directly with growers and the associations they trust most, FarmLink stands alone as the independent company that develops yield measurement and granular benchmarking services for farmers."

TrueHarvest accurately shows farmers for the first time the full range of performance potential for fields, down to a 150-square-foot micro-field level. With this unique knowledge, TrueHarvest allows farmers to measure their land's performance and the effectiveness of every annual decision they make, such as seed selection, other input decisions and promising new prescriptive farming services. Farmers also can make adjustments, in coordination with input providers and other agronomic advisors, and then determine how changes to inputs and services contribute to meeting performance goals, including productivity and profitability.

FarmLink benefits from its combine leasing business MachineryLink, which is entering its 15th year of providing farmers with more cost effective harvest solutions. MachineryLink runs the largest fleet of combines in the country, operating across 26 states, and, as of the end of the current, ongoing harvest will have collected more than 1 billion micro-fields of real yield data, working with farmers leasing combines. From these, FarmLink is correlating more than 700 million micro-fields, after a rigorous QA process, to identify the most representative.

"Five years ago, we envisioned using wireless technology to collect and relay real-time harvest yield information through our combine leasing relationships to then create products and services for the benefit of farmers," said Ron LeMay. "Upon completion of our fourth harvest, which is underway, we will have more than 5 million acres of real yield data, along with more than a trillion data elements, which create the proprietary data set that underpins the TrueHarvest benchmarking service."

"FarmLink has done what no one else has been able to do, nor could do, without the unique combination of assets the company has had for more than a decade," said Moe Russell, Co-Founder and President of Russell Consulting Group. "Farmlink's wireless capabilities, proprietary calibration technology and sophisticated data analytics together create a benchmarking service previously unavailable in farming. Coupled with its four-year head start in learnings and refinements in the collection and management of data, Farmlink is at the forefront of, and years ahead of anyone, in this next big change in agriculture."

"The TrueHarvest Benchmark provides the missing information we need to fully and accurately gauge our yield opportunity," said Kasey Downing, an Iowa farmer. "Now, I'm using that yield potential information to make decisions about where to put my time, energy and resources to optimize productivity."

By using the TrueHarvest Benchmark, FarmLink conservatively identified $11 billion in unrealized yield potential for U.S. soybean and corn farmers in 2013 alone.

In addition to offering the TrueHarvest Benchmark, Farmlink continues to provide farmers the benefits of better asset utilization, access to the latest technology and lower cost harvesting through MachineryLink's combine fleet. Together, FarmLink's offerings demonstrate the company's deep commitment to and alignment with farmers and their needs in today's market.

A Kansas City, Mo.-based company, FarmLink offers an innovative and unique set of services to help farmers improve productivity and profitability.

Farmlink operates the largest combine leasing fleet in the United States, under the MachineryLink brand, bringing farmers the opportunity to use the most modern technology to harvest crops at a lower cost than owning the machinery.

Through its TrueHarvest yield benchmarking service, FarmLink brings to farmers the science of benchmarking, which both identifies the potential productivity of land as well as the ability to measure the success of any farming practice, including the promising new prescriptive farming services offered by many leading agricultural companies. Farmers and their advisors can access TrueHarvest yield benchmark services anywhere, anytime, allowing them to see precise, detailed and actionable comparisons, and use that knowledge to make the best planting, spraying and overall productivity plan for their land.

FarmLink's data science, agronomy and benchmarking experts have developed an innovative pipeline of services, including the TrueHarvest yield benchmarking service, to cost effectively support grower profitability and productivity. To learn more, go to www.farmlink.com.  

OpenAir Equity Partners is a venture capital firm focused on high growth, early stage companies in technology, mobile, and communications. The OpenAir team is comprised of mobile pioneers with a collective 65 years of mobile industry operating experience and 22 years of investing experience. Visit www.openairep.com for more information.

Thorndale Farm, LLC is a single family office located in Millbrook, NY. The office was founded in 1996 as a result of the sale of Commerce Clearing House ("CCH") to Wolters Kluwer.

Oakleigh Thorne is the founder and CEO of Thorndale Farm LLC, and oversees the Thorne family investment portfolio, including investments in Gogo, ShopperTrak, Helix Education, and FarmLink, as well as a diversified portfolio of indirect investments.


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