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sunset orchard

The Southeast Freeze

To begin, our condolences go out to the Georgia farmers who suffered from the deep freeze in the prior weeks that resulted in multiple customers losing their entire crop for this year’s upcoming harvest. The week of March 12-19 resulted in brutal temperatures in the low twenties and even the high teens in portions of the South, which resulted in catastrophic crop loss throughout the region. Many farmers tried taking desperate measures such as spreading torches, heaters, commercial blowers, and sprinklers, but most of their efforts failed. Blueberries are Georgia’s number one fruit/nut crop, and the harvest was valued at over a $300 million dollar in 2020. Catastrophic events such as the recent freeze can destroy the agricultural economy in a state overnight. 2nd Sight is here for support. Please do not hesitate to contact one of us if there is something that we can do to help. 

 

Overtime

As we all know, Washington overtime laws are in full affect, and only going to get more difficult for employers. The overtime threshold is 55 hours a week this year and will drop to 48 hours a week next year and will settle at 40 hours a week at the beginning of 2024. In addition to Washington, Oregon is now moving forward with its changes to overtime regulations for agricultural workers as well. Oregon’s overtime threshold will be cut down to 55 hours a week in 2023 and then will taper down to 40 hours a week by the beginning of 2027. California’s overtime requirement for agricultural workers is even stricter. California farms that employ more than 25 workers must now pay their workers overtime after 8 hours of work in a day or 40 hours worked in a week. Farms that employ 25 or fewer workers must pay overtime after 9.5 hours worked in a day or 55 in a week, moving toward an 8/40 requirement in 2025. California farms that employ more than 25 workers must now pay their workers overtime after 8 hours of work in a day or 40 hours worked in a week.

As soon as Washington announced these new overtime laws, 2nd Sight’s customers immediately reached out with their concerns, and rightfully so. Because our focus is solving our customers’ problem, it did not take us long to realize that 2ndSight, a company who offers labor tracking software, needed to do focus on flagging employees who were nearing overtime thresholds. Our team immediately got to work using a mix of brainstormed ideas from our tech developers and recommendations from our customer base. In the last couple of weeks, we have developed a beta of our overtime feature that is now being evaluated and in its final stages before we launch it for full use.

 

Adopting New Technology

We understand that it can be difficult to introduce innovative technologies that you may not be accustomed to, but 2nd Sight’s easy-to-use technologies that can help you get ahead of the new rules and regulations that are being adopted. 2nd Sight can help you roll out these technologies. We are here to try to make the transition to tracking technologies as smooth as possible, and we will do all we can to accomplish that goal. For those customers in Washington and Oregon, please reach out if you need in person training or help, A 2-3-hour drive on a beautiful spring day has never made us complain. For our overseas and East-Coast customers, we offer a 24/7 customer service hotline for your convenience. 


sunset orchard

Farm Atmosphere
As I traveled through the Yakima Valley on the way to a customer site, I looked out the window on tranquil farms, and I felt blessed to be traveling through the Valley on such a beautiful winter day.

Upon arriving at the customer’s farm, I was struck by the collegial atmosphere among the office coworkers as well as among the employees in the field and maintenance areas. I enjoyed meeting each crew boss and learning about the farm’s roadblocks and struggles. Getting ideas from people in the field allows us to adjust our products to best fit our customers’ needs.

I’m new to this business, so, after listening to our customers, I was reassured to know 2nd Sight has products that can help overcome time-tracking and piece work issues quickly and effectively. After all I saw and learned, I look forward to returning to the Yakima Valley soon.

 

Not so Marginal
Small discrepancies can be easily overlooked, but, when it comes to paying by the pound, they can result in lost profit. When growers pay and get paid by weight, accuracy is important.

In an extreme case, a 2nd Sight customer overseas experienced a weight discrepancy of 10% between the weight recorded by 2nd Sight’s FairPick scales and the weight recorded by its packing house. This customer shipped over 8,000,000 pounds of blueberries to the packing house but was told that the packing house scales recorded only 7,200,000 pounds. As a result of this “small discrepancy,” the customer requested that the packing house check its scales with a calibrated weight. The customer learned that the FairPicks had recorded the correct weight, and the packing house owed the customer payment for an additional 800,000 pounds of blueberries. Based on this alone, the customer’s 35 FairPicks paid for themselves in only six months!

2nd Sight’s FairPicks are NTEP certified and very reliable. While this extreme case is unlikely to occur in the U.S., using a FairPick can eliminate questions between growers and pickers about weight picked. In addition, this accurate weight data uploads to the 2nd Sight Customer Portal where growers have easy access to picker efficiency information, pay information, and much more.

 

Overtime
Our customers have expressed concern about Washington’s new overtime regulations. As of January 1, 2022, Washington State requires employers to pay overtime to all agricultural employees who work more than 55 hours in a week. Starting in 2023, that hourly maximum per week will drop to 48 hours, and, in 2024, to 40 hours per week.

2nd Sight has been stockpiling customer recommendations and ideas to create an overtime alert feature that will best suit our customers’ needs. Based on customer input, 2nd Sight has been diligently working to develop software and tools to let our customers know when an employee approaches the overtime threshold, so employers can avoid overtime expenses.

 


sunset orchard

Background
Starting this past December, I began my new adventure here at 2nd Sight Bioscience. My name is Dawson Lack, and I am taking over for Monika. Monika was an incredible employee and resource, and I have some big shoes to fill, but I would first like to formally introduce myself to our customer base and peers. I am a Spokane native born and raised. I graduated from EWU with a BA in finance and received my MBA just over a year later. I don’t have much experience with agriculture, but I am a quick learner. I am beyond excited to build relationships within the agricultural community because I admire the work ethic and authenticity of the farming community. As all of you know, our job here at 2ndSight is to make your lives easier. I am young, eager, and available, and I will strive to be there for you regardless of the date or time.

The World As We Know It
In my short tenure here, I have experienced the frustration of the current world situation, the long lead times, and the shortages of items that seem essential for business. I have been trying my best to pull every string possible to get in the essential products so we can be of service to you through harvest season – whether in sales, repairs, customer support, or whatever else may be needed to help make your lives easier. With perseverance and pluck, we will get through these trying times together.

Getting Through This Together
As I learn more and more about the everyday grind and struggle of farmers, the more respect I have for you, our customers. You toil from the earliest of days to the latest of nights, while having to deal with external factors that are completely out of your control such as extreme weather, pests, and other potentially catastrophic scenarios that can hinder your harvest. I am very excited to move forward with all of you, and, more importantly, I am excited to help you guys have the most efficient harvest yet.


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