Mcchop.com. It's not the new McDonald's pork chop sandwich, but part of a different wave sweeping the world - the Internet. Mcchop.com is the Web site of McClellan Farms, Delavan, WI.
For the past few years, partners Tom McClellan and Wes Hopkins have used their site as a promotional tool for their custom farming business, which includes chopping forages. Its content includes a listing of the services they offer, their prices and the machines they use.
"I can tell people 'Here's my advertising page (Web site),' and it's there every day," says Hopkins, who often refers callers who have questions to the site. "It just lays it out for them instead of me running all that interference.
"I think the Web site costs me about $300 a year. That's cheap. You can hardly advertise anywhere for that."
Although Hopkins admits that it hasn't attracted a lot of new customers, it does get looked at and he likes having it. "I think the hits will pick up. The bigger farmers who are probably more progressive will pick up on it."
He was also thinking of the future when he registered his domain name. "I realized that if I wanted to have Mcchop.com I'd have to get it early, before someone else claimed it."
Hopkins knows that his custom harvest site isn't alone. Other custom harvesters also are using the Internet to get the word out about their services. Bartmann Complete Hay Service (bartmann.net), Greeley, CO, and Good Earth Land & Livestock (goodearth-alfalfa.com), Lyman, NE, are examples.
But if starting up your own Web page isn't for you, there are plenty of other ways that you can use the Internet to benefit your custom business.
Hay service listings. These are often included within hay directories that can be viewed both online and in printed form. They offer you the opportunity to list your services with them, many times free of charge. Here are a few:
Bulletin boards. Several hay- and forage-specific sites have space available for harvesters, producers and truckers to post information and messages. Check out these examples:
Equipment and parts. Almost everything can be ordered online and delivered directly to you. There are sites where you can check out auction listings, after-market or replacement parts and new equipment. Here's a sampling:
Downloadable software. You can get programs directly off the Internet that can save time and money. Sometimes they're even free. These are a few of the sites that offer useful programs: