Autumn Adjustments

Preparing Your Units for Winter

As winter quickly approaches, it is crucial to prepare your 2nd Sight units for the off season. When your harvest is finished, 2nd Sight recommends the following for the FairPick:
• Charge your machines
• Power them off completely
• Leave them unplugged from the charger
• Close and latch the plastic cover over the unit’s display box.
• Do not leave any forms of excessive weight on the scales when they are not in use.

If you do not use FairTrak handhelds for an extended period, please make sure to store them in a controlled atmosphere near room temperature. Leaving handheld devices exposed to wintry weather, cold temperatures and moisture will decrease the device’s lifespan.

Will Broadband Internet Services Reach the Farm?

Internet access is key to business these days, and we all know the frustrations of not having good connectivity. Farm access to internet is currently abysmal, but will that change?
As a result of the recent Infrastructure Act, the federal government is taking steps to close the urban-rural “digital divide.” This divide arose because internet infrastructure and resources have focused on urban centers, leaving rural areas and farms with spotty internet service at best.

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has been mapping rural areas with the goal of providing better access to the worldwide web for agriculture. But a recent Capital Press article questioned whether agricultural areas would get the infrastructure they need. Experts believe the FCC’s map does not truly include agricultural areas.

There is no telling what better internet service would do to help farms and farmers, but a 2019 USDA report estimated that better internet infrastructure in rural areas could result in billions of dollars in benefits nationwide and boost farm profitability.

2nd Sight understands that farmers need better internet access. Every sector, including agriculture, has become increasingly data driven. Better internet access in agricultural areas would improve farmers’ abilities to gather and share field data, improving labor tracking, data collection, and farm communication. Increased internet connectivity in rural areas is needed. Let us hope that the FCC gets this right and that more farms get the internet connectivity they require to do business in the digital world.
Trade Show Season

As harvest has finished, the 2nd Sight staff is preparing for this year’s run of trade shows. We recently made an appearance at the Canadian Greenhouse Conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario. There, we met with greenhouse growers and exhibited our FairTrak system and our biodegradable twine.

Next on our agenda are the Grape, Nut, and Tree Fruit Expo and the Tree and Vine Expo in Stanislaus, and Fresno, California, respectively. Here, when you visit, you can see our FairPick Lite system on full display where it demonstrates its barcode and weight tracking capabilities.

After our appearance at these California trade shows, the 2nd Sight crew will be heading out to bring product information to the ag community. Come see us at the NW Hort Expo in Wenatchee, WA (December 2022), the SE Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference in Savannah, GA (January 2023), and the Pacific Ag Show in Abbottsford, BC, Canada (January 2023).

Feel free to reach out to a 2nd Sight representative for more information regarding trade shows we are attending, potential in person demonstrations, and complimentary trade show tickets!

A Year of Severity

Another La Nina Inbound

After a year of extreme highs and lows, drought, and late freezes, we now may be facing our third straight La Niña winter. Experts predict a 91% chance that a La Niña weather front will start this November. The odds of this weather settling in for the remainder of the winter (January-March) is much lower at 54%, but the odds still favor cold and snow to the Northwest according to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. It seems to me that finishing out 2022 with these severe weather systems is par for the course.

Organic Hydroponics

Modern growers raise crops using various technologies; hydroponics is one popular method. The advantage of hydroponics is that crops grow without soil; they flourish year-round, use less water, and grow faster with higher yields. Although hydroponic crops generally grow in greenhouses, growers have begun growing hydroponically outdoors as well. As hydroponics have grown in popularity, an interesting issue has arisen: can hydroponic crops, which are grown without soil, be considered organic? Over the past 5 years, various decisions and legal actions involving the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Center for Food Safety (CFS), and traditional organic farmers have wrestled with whether hydroponic crops are worthy of the “organic” tag. This issue seems to have been resolved this week as the Coalition of Sustainable Organics (CSO) announced that a panel of three U.S. District Court judges in San Francisco, California affirmed the USDA’s authority to recognize and certify organic growers using hydroponic production methods.

Market Expansion

As many of you may already know, piece work expands far beyond farming, and as a company who specializes in maximizing the efficiency and fairness of piece work employees, we have been trying to expand our customer market. We are proud to announce that we now have a distributor in Louisiana who specializes in the crayfish industry. The similarities between crayfish and fruit picking piece work are quite surprising. Pickers pick lugs of blueberries, weigh them, and then get credit for the weights; workers in the crayfish industry peel crayfish, fill their bin with tails, weigh them, and get credit for the weight. We see opportunity with other seafood such as lobsters, fish processing, and any other piece rate harvesting. As we continue to look at expanding our customer market, the potential possibilities seem endless.

Fight the Problem

Investment Versus Purchase

In business, saving money is important. In the past two years, inflation has been unprecedented, making the cost of business for some borderline unbearable. How do you combat these costs? Investing in something that will save you money by reducing labor costs.

Many people confuse an investment a purchase. Yes, an investment is a purchase, but it is a purchase made with the expectation that the purchase will make profit for you. Investing in automation, such as that offered by 2nd Sight products, can be as safe an investment as you can get. With proven low ROIs, our products help reduce the labor to the point where they pay for themselves in a couple of years. After the first few years, the machine saves you money use after use.

The current reality is not only that inflation and rising costs have made doing business much more expensive, finding people to work has also become difficult. Investing in automation eliminates tedious data entry positions, which in turn cuts down on the number of people your company needs to employ.

Droughts and Heat

After a scorching month of August, it is finally looking like temperatures are settling down towards the end of next week. These historically high temperatures have caused severe nationwide droughts, hitting some regions like California, Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon especially hard. For example, Lake Mead Reservoir in Nevada is only 27% full, which is the lowest that has been recording since 1937. Currently 57.79% of the entire Pacific Northwest region is in drought. These droughts have been a driving force behind increasing farming related costs and loss of crop in these regions. Thankfully, many berry farmers in the Pacific Northwest and South still found success in their harvests despite the tough circumstances during this particularly dry summer.

Nurseries are Picking Up

As fall approaches, our nursery customers are beginning their yearly processes. 2nd Sight’s InstaCaliper tree measuring, counting and grading system helps nursery owners lower their average time for calipering a tree to only 3 seconds. 2nd Sight’s technology uses two break beam sensors to electronically measure the diameter of nursery trees by just passing our caliper head by a tree trunk.

Helping our customers speed up manual work such has hand calipering trees is imbedded in our company’s DNA. Please do not hesitate to reach out to a 2nd Sight representative regarding increasing field work speed and efficiency and regarding organizing your tree inventory record keeping processes.