Our co-founders, Tom and Ben came together in early 2022 to start Soil Benchmark. But our story goes back much further.
Tom had grown up on a small farm in North Yorkshire, and was working for a company selling bio-fertilisers to farmers. Soil samples were taken and data on the farms collected. But the main purpose was selling inputs to those farmers - after that the data was largely left to gather dust. The questions farmers were always asking Tom, through, were not about which inputs to buy, but 'what should I be doing to look after my soils better?' or 'what are the other farmers you work with doing?'.
At the same time Ben was a Digital Soil Scientist at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen, building algorithms to analyse their huge collection of soil survey data. He had a passion for soils, but wanted to move from the academic pipeline of writing papers for review and being unsure of the tangible impact on the ground of your work. He wanted to use the tools he had been working on for years to help turn around the longterm declines in soil health around the world.
Ben and Tom knew each other through the British Society of Soil Science and decided to start Soil Benchmark to achieve this. The core ambition that drove them was to harness the sort of algorithms Ben developed at the Hutton, applied to the huge amount of underutilised data that was being collected routinely on farms, to answer the sort of questions farmers were asking Tom.
We've come along way since Tom and Ben launched Soil Benchmark with that simple idea. We've been backed by DEFRA, Ordnance Survey, and far-sighted investors keen to support us on this journey. We've built our first products with our group of pilot farms - working to address the specific pain points they identified to make sure all our products are solving real problems for farmers. And now we're scaling up, on track to have more than 100,000 acres of farmland from across the UK using our products by the end of 2022 - less than a year since we began.
But we are just getting started. We still think it's crazy how much data farmers collect on their soils and how they farm which isn't currently helping them make better decisions.
We are on a mission to make sure farmers' data works for farmers' soils. Join us.