GiveTrack and Heifer USA: Using Bitcoin and Blockchain to Buy a Tractor for Smallholder Farmers

By Jesus Pizarro

November 12, 2020

Arkansas farmer, Patrick Jones

In This Article

  • GiveTrack is an innovative crowdfunding donation platform that builds real-time financial transparency using blockchain technology.
  • Donations will be used to buy a walk-behind BCS tractor, caterpillar tunnels, and silage tarps for Heifer USA’s Equipment Loan Program that support farmers with expensive equipment.
  • Heifer USA is partnering with Farmers Friend and BCS to buy the equipment using Bitcoin cryptocurrency.

Heifer USA has launched an innovative program that uses blockchain technology to track philanthropic giving and allows supporters of the program to donate Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Supporters of the program can donate using Bitcoin, a variety of other cryptocurrencies, or a debit/credit card. All donations are converted to or remain in Bitcoin and participants can monitor their donation in real-time using blockchain.

Blockchain Technology is a decentralized ledger or list of time-stamped series of immutable transactions across a peer-to-peer network that sits on top of the TCP/IP (the Internet). These blocks contain data representing anything of value and allow participants to track every step of the process while still protecting participant data using cryptographic principles. It’s an ecosystem that guarantees trust, data provenance and efficiency.

Heifer has accepted digital currency since 2016 and is piloting and testing asset registration and tracking processes for some projects. Heifer is already using blockchain technology across global supply chains with a variety of partners and has embedded the core values of security, community, transparency and sustainability into all its blockchain projects.

Supporters of the GiveTrack crowdfunding project will allow Heifer USA to purchase one walk-behind BCS tractor to loan to farmers in the Heifer network.

The BCS walk-behind tractor is known as the “ultimate” soil working machine and is the industry standard for small-scale farmers and market gardeners. Smallholder farmers within the Heifer USA network will be able to use the tractor and its attachments, sparing them the cost of buying this equipment while giving them the opportunity to work their land efficiently and effectively in a fraction of the time it would take using hand tools.

Patrick Jones of Blue Mountain Vegetable Farm in Arkansas has been using a similar tractor borrowed from the Heifer USA Equipment Loan Program. “Being able to check out the walk-behind tractor was huge for us,” Jones said. “We were able to get to the market on time, with crops.” The tractor can also be outfitted with different attachments that allow a farmer to easily switch between doing different tasks, like tilling, mowing or even preparing raised beds. Watch the video above to see more from Jones and Blue Mountain Vegetable Farm.  Additional milestones for the project include caterpillar tunnels and silage tarps that provide additional crop protection and increase production.

Equipment and infrastructure costs are some of the biggest roadblocks that smallholder farmers like Jones struggle to overcome. The Heifer USA Equipment Loan Program is a way for Heifer to support farmers as they work to adopt regenerative agriculture practices and increase their productivity and their profits.