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AgHelp: connecting ag-laborers to jobs and resources

Sadoc, Feliciano and Ivan Paredes spent much of their childhood as migrant workers, working alongside their father, mother and five other siblings, picking crops while traveling around the U.S. before eventually settling in Michigan.

After years of seeing the difficulties an uncertainty that ag workers faced when looking for jobs first-hand, they started AgHelp in 2011.

AgHelp is a mobile platform that connects agricultural workers with employers and support agencies. AgHelp looks to bring efficiency to a very costly and inefficient matchmaking market.

AgHelp was one of five companies selected to participate in this year’s cohort of the Iowa Agritech Accelerator.

“We just finished up the mentor speed dating of the cohort and I think we met with around 60 mentors,” said Sadoc Peredes, co-founder of Ag Help. “Right now we’re trying to kind of match up our needs with the mentors who we’ve met with. We’ve been able to get a good idea of how people see this affecting their industry and how our platform could benefit them ultimately.”

A win for workers, farmers and support agencies

With AgHelp, employers decrease costs and gain labor predictability; workers gain location choice and the ability to compare earning potential; support agencies increase the number of worker clients they serve, increasing the funding they receive.

“Basically the idea is for a worker to be able to search for jobs nationally and also search for support agencies,” said Sadoc. “It’s really just getting all of the jobs and resources to a worker all in one platform, all in one place, and making it as easy as possible for them.”

Over the last year, AgHelp has largely focused on marketing towards support agencies, increasing their awareness and experience with the app.

“The support agencies already have deep roots with the labor force in general. they have a lot of ties to this workforce already, lower income ag workers,” said Sadoc. “So for us, it’s really about facilitating that connection and empowering workers.”

Now that AgHelp is preparing to relaunch on a web platform, they are beginning to shift their focus towards growers and farmers.

Getting to the root of the problem

“There isn’t really anybody taking a holistic approach to the ag labor shortage,” said Sadoc. “I think our unique perspective and personal experience has helped us take a different approach and ultimately address the real problems around the shortage. Really, I think that’s what will make us successful and unique in this approach.”

AgHelp hopes to launch the web platform within the next four months and would like to have a large user base in the U.S. by the end of the year. And then, sometime mid-next year they plan on folding in the ability to recruit H-2A positions for those seasonal, temporary positions for ag workers.

1 Comment

  • Rigoberto Palma Valadez
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 10:09 pm

    Tengo 15 años de experiencia en granjas y en campo me gustaría trabajar con visa de trabajo soy de la piedad michoacan

Comments are closed.

AgHelp: connecting ag-laborers to jobs and resources | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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