He’d join a growing community of forward-thinking agricultural enthusiasts who are adopting the domain for farm-oriented initiatives, which range from established family-run operations to independent urban farms.
Click here for a Pinterest board highlighting some of the 7,000 ‘dot-farm’ domains that have been registered since last year. It's part of a much bigger naming expansion taking place on the Internet -- one triggered by nearly 600 new "not-com" options, such as ‘dot-photography’ (.PHOTOGRAPHY) and ‘dot-legal’ (.LEGAL). Many of these new domain choices are specific to an industry, like 'dot-farm' is to farming.
While farming and the Internet aren’t an obvious marriage -- expansive fields of grain and a high-tech 'interweb' seem about as opposite as you can get -- the farming of today requires an online presence. After all, the next generation of farmers have grown up with the Internet, and most cannot imagine running a business without it. Millennial and Generation Y farmers, specifically, are forging a farming renaissance around organic, local and sustainable missions, and they're taking this pursuit online to amplify grassroots efforts.
Staying ahead of the digital curve is what motivated Josh Lee, a third-generation farmer, to choose a ‘dot-farm’ domain for his New York City-based urban farm Green Top Farms (greentop.farm).
“If you’re going to have a website and you’re a farm, and you’re fairly new or modern, I think it makes sense to have a ‘dot-farm,’” says Lee, 32. “It’s been one of the talking points [for my business]. People will say, “Oh, that’s cool, I didn’t know you could have a ‘dot-farm.’”
Lee says 'dot-farm' helps to rebrand the industry, transforming an old-fashioned profession into a more modern enterprise.
Keely Gerhold, co-founder of a Brooklyn-based urban farm startup using the domain ‘tinyfield.farm,’ agrees.
“It’s unique, young, and lets you know what we do,” the 28-year-old says. “If I were searching for a farm and saw that, I would be like, 'Oh they are probably younger and more Internet savvy.' It’s not so antiquated, it’s new.”
Those adopting the domain as part of their digital identity also like the shortness of the word as an immediate identifier for their business.
"It works for us, as a small farm, and I certainly like how it looks," says Cullum Kerr of North Dakota-based Joy Farm (joy.farm). "I work as a web developer, so get various newsletters with info, and somewhere in there I was notified about the 'dot-farm' name going online [last year], and I bought ours as soon as it was available."
A “farm,” by census standards, is any place that grows and sells (or normally would have sold) $1,000 worth of agricultural products in a year. While the number of farms in the United States has declined over the years -- down 4 percent to roughly 2.1 million -- this statistic doesn’t necessarily factor in the smaller rooftop farms, community gardens and cooperative farms attached to businesses and housing developments. New York alone now boasts about 900 food gardens and farms, according to Five Borough Farm, a research and advocacy project. Many of those farming operations are run by entrepreneurs under the age of 40.
These independent and small farming operations appear to be the early adopters of the 'dot-farm' domain name during it's first year of Internet existence. They are farms that, in many ways, are innovating the industry as a whole -- just as they are cultivating a new community online.