Technology advancements have exponentially changed the way we farm. On May 29, we gathered our leaders to discuss how data is driving profit for modern growers. Laura Handke guided AGI President and CEO, Tim Close and Farmobile® President and CEO, Jason Tatge through a discovery conversation of how Agtech has changed the Farm.
“In an environment with a huge amount of uncertainty and volatility, our customers need the tools to bring some level of certainty to a very volatile environment.” Tim Close
“It leads to better understanding of investments growers are making in fertility, in seed, in crop protection and really at the end of the year, to be able to stack all that data and understand what’s working on your field so you can feel more confident in the decisions you make in the future.” Jason Tatge
What does this mean for growers?
“The way we’ve approached Ag Tech is to provide a means to collect, record and manage all of the data across the business in order to have a positive impact on productivity risk management and ultimately profitability.” Tim Close
“The Cloud allows us to do the processing and the cleaning, but it also allows us to do the standardization required to allow that data to flow into other systems for further analysis.” Jason Tatge
How important is ease of use?
“It’s the biggest friction point to people starting to use data. It has got to be simple. When you can start to combine these disparate data sources and really bring the whole operation together in one place, that’s what unlocks a lot of really exciting features. You’re not just growing a commodity anymore, but you’re growing a crop that has some records on what happened. I don’t think there’s anyone out there that desires to know less about where their food comes from. It’s really important for us to continue to tell the message of how the crop is grown and how we take care of things. That differentiates you from a commodity seller to a value-add seller.” Jason Tatge
“Automation is critical across every part of a platform. It’s a pillar of our platform.” Tim Close
Where should a Grower look to start?
“Trust is the most important piece when choosing a provider of services because you want to be with someone that’s A. going to be around and B. has a technology that’s scalable. Scale is something that everybody forgets in this space. To make it work once on one tractor, it makes you feel as an entrepreneur that you’ve solved the world’s problems, but to make it work on 100 or a thousand at the same time, that stuff is not trivial.” Jason Tatge
“We looked from beginning to end, from the input side through to growing, harvesting, conditioning, protecting that asset, and then monetizing it in terms of selling. We provide a beginning to end solution. It’s an operating system for the entire business.” Tim Close
Tell us about your flagship products and how they are changing the face of technology.
“We’ve built in revolutionary capabilities, being able to market your crop based on content: based on protein, starch and oil, and find the right buyer. Every buyer does have a preference and will pay for that knowledge around that crop. That’s one piece of traceability. Once you can get that traceability, and you must, for the consumer. That drives different markets for the crop.” Tim Close
“We’ve worked a lot with the Farm Bureau to be able to create what data, how we classify data, what questions farmers should be able to get answers to when they’re choosing their providers…Farmobile has really been the leader on that and banging the drum on data security. That goes back to the trust, it takes a long time to build up the trust and a short time to lose it.” Jason Tatge
What are the advantages available from AGI SureTrack and Farmobile that put them ahead of other machinery companies that incorporate data collection into their units already?
“We’re collecting data across the entire operation. It is important to be collecting inventory levels, managing those inventory levels and expenses and exact usages of those inputs to each foot of your field and being able to get down to a live P&L by section of the field. You need to be able to look at all aspects around the field as well as what’s happening on the field- you need to tie those together.” Tim Close
“Our only business is data. It’s 100% what we do. We’re not trying to sell you another tractor. We’re saying pick the equipment that works best for you on your operation and you can feel confident knowing that we can collect that data and get it into a place you can use it.” Jason Tatge
How has COVID affected AgTech?
“It’s called a PUC- a passive uplink connection. Passive in that we don’t need to be there. It works in the background like a FitBit. We’re actually in a fairly decent position to be able to help without having to go out to the farm. We’re seeing the partners that were already a part of the operation be able to become a stronger part of the operation.” Jason Tatge
“Food production carries on. Work has to go on, we have to hit the plant dates and make the right decisions in order to enable the plant. We’ve operated throughout the entire process throughout the world, to make sure we support our customers. We’ve implemented robust procedures to be able to do that safely for all of our employees. We are firm believers that we can operate safely and responsibly in this environment and support ongoing adoption of AgTech.” Tim Close
“Agriculture is essential to all of us.” Laura Handke
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