Software Start-Up Brings Financial Advice to Farmers

In 2007, Nick Horob observed a boom in commodities prices as a financial advisor in Minneapolis and wondered how farmers would respond. With his family rooted in the farming industry in Western North Dakota, he decided to use his financial knowledge to assist farmers in decision-making. Nick’s commitment to financially inform farmers has produced Harvest Profit, a financial software company started in 2015. “I realized that farmers need better tools than just spreadsheets… so I set out to start Harvest Profit to help them make better business decisions on the farm,” said Nick.

Journey from the Farm 

Nick’s entrepreneurial journey began in Williston, North Dakota where his uncle managed the family farm and his father owned a construction company. “Looking back to my time spent with friends and family who farmed, I do not remember a lot of talk about the business side of farming,” explained Nick. After graduating from high school, Nick attended the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota where he earned a degree in finance. Although Nick had moved from the farm to the city, Nick would often keep an eye on commodity prices as he worked as a financial advisor at ShoreView Industries in Minneapolis.

“In 2007, I saw farmers making emotionally-driven decisions during the commodity boom, and I felt moved to help farmers, like my family, make better-informed decisions based on long-standing financial principles,” shared Nick. Convicted to help farmers, Nick left his job in Minneapolis and moved into a consultant role with several farms in Western Minnesota and Eastern North Dakota. As a consultant, Nick has expanded from a few farmers in 2009 to around 35 farmers in 2017.

Over time, Nick observed that “a lot of farmers are great at the art of growing crops… farming is their bread and butter, but they also need sound financial data to make business decisions.” As a result, in 2015 Nick reached out to Codelation in Fargo to create financial software that would encapsulate all of the tools to assist farmers. The journey towards funding Harvest Profit took multiple steps including an Innovate North Dakota Grant, an Agriculture Products Utilization Commission Grant, Nick’s personal funds, and income from created educational courses.

Tools for Success

Educating farmers to be proactive and not reactive is one of Harvest Profit’s top priorities. “A big component of being proactive is tracking numbers in order to define profitability and capture profitable opportunities when they present themselves,” said Nick. On the Harvest Profit website, there are currently two options to access the created financial tools: the Harvest Profit educational courses and the Harvest Profit software package.

“Currently there are approximately 150 farms on our software and around 800 farmers from around the country that have taken web-based courses,” explained Nick.  This volume of customers has led to the growth of the Harvest Profit team. In August of 2017, a software engineer and partial owner, Jaryd Krishnan, has joined the Harvest Profit team. The future growth of Harvest Profit will depend on farmers taking the initiative to learn more about the benefits of this financial tool.

Learn more from Nick Horob and Harvest Profit as he speaks at 1 Million Cups Fargo on Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 at 9:15 a.m. at The Stage at Island Park.

Brent McNeal