Prospective customers often ask how the data collected from our various farm labor tracking devices in the field transmits to a computer. Being an urban/suburban dweller myself, I make the poor assumption that all Americans have access to good Wi-Fi and cellular networks in the 21st century. Isn’t the internet everywhere? Actually…. no.

The following statistics are from the article, “For the First Time, Census Bureau Data Show Impact of Geography, Income on Broadband Internet Access”:

  • In the average “mostly urban” county, over 75 percent of households have a subscription to broadband internet.
  • The average county classified as “mostly rural” has a household subscription rate of approximately 67 percent.
  • The average “completely rural” county has a subscription rate of 65 percent.
  • Many tech companies see this lack of internet access and connectivity as an opportunity—including Microsoft (check out this video about FarmBeats). However, these solutions are still in-work—and too expensive—for most farmers. Until the costs go down or Wi-Fi becomes more widespread (another slow process, requiring funding), farmers cannot rely on sending “real-time” data from the field to the office. It is a great goal but is still out of reach for many in the Ag Industry based on the current state of accessible and affordable technology.

Initial testing of our FairPick harvest scale system in Othello and Mattawa, Washington was an eye-opening experience for our engineering team. We had to develop our systems to work consistently and reliably with or without connection to the internet. To take it a step further, we’ve developed contingency plans if labor data must be pulled off “manually” from the devices Nothing is worse than trying to run payroll without the piecework and hourly data you need to get the job done. We are intentional about how we design our labor tracking systems because we know who is using them and where our users are located and the constraints and challenges of the Ag environment.

So can you become a data-driven farm without a reliable network connection? Yes, you can use the FairTrak, FairPick, QuickPick, InstaCaliper, and even MobileClock without internet connectivity all day. It just takes a quick "sync" or "upload" and an adequate Wi-Fi connection to push the data up to your Portal to run your reports and do your payroll. Are you set up for real-time data collection? So are we. Install a SIM card into our rugged devices to capture and sync data from the field to the Cloud. Until we're all on a level playing field, Ag tech companies have to accommodate both the best- and worst-case scenarios.

The article “UC Davis report: Farm labor supply from Mexico is falling fast” in Fruit Growers News discusses the dwindling supply of labor from Mexico that the Ag industry has come to rely on in the United States. I read this article after skimming through the headlines of The Signal in my inbox. The Signal is a new weekly newsletter produced by Meister Media that highlights trends in ag technology and automation. How does the industry begin to address the issue of declining labor from Mexico? It’s time to embrace technology and innovation and the companies that will develop the solutions to overcome these challenges that the industry faces. Let us help you get back to farming.

How can you make crop production more profitable and efficient? It starts by minimizing expenses. Today, I also read on that, “According to a report recently released by the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), U.S. farmers and ranchers earn just 14.6 cents for every dollar American consumers spend on food.” This is the lowest value since this statistic was first recorded in 1993 by the USDA. So how do you do more with less?

Invest in tools that will optimize the productivity of your workforce

We are told from many of our customers that using the InstaCaliper cuts the time it takes to caliper trees and count inventory in half. You have just made your nursery more productive.

How many hours and office staff were staying one, two, maybe even three hours after picking ended to count, hand-enter, and calculate total hours worked and pieces earned? Eliminating these time-consuming processes just made your farm more productive.

Find ways to ensure that you have accurate labor costs

When we initially tested the FairPick scale out in cherry orchards, we found that, on average, each cherry lug weighed about 18.5 pounds. Each lug should hold 20 pounds of cherries. 1.5 pounds of “missing” fruit adds up quickly. Paying by weight ensures that you are only paying for the fruit harvested.

The only way to justify the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” or “it’s because we’ve always done it that way” mentality is if you accept that nothing has changed since you started farming. Tariffs haven’t increased, farm income has remained the same, technology has not progressed, labor has remained constant and abundant…. Being a productive, profitable farm looks different than it did 50 year ago, even 10 years ago.

Every obstacle a farmer faces is an opportunity for the Ag Tech industry to grow.

At 2nd Sight, we believe that there is a better way. That there is an easier way. We’re on a mission to develop Ag tech that allows the grower to work smarter, not harder.

Have you ever had to hand count and caliper 10,000 trees, not just once, but every year? Have you ever had to manually enter this measurement data into a spreadsheet to get your nursery inventory counts? Have you ever thought that there might be a system out there that automates this time consuming and tedious process?

This is where we come in. You’re not the only one who wants a better solution. At 2nd Sight, we do the work to develop the quality, reliable, and innovative technology that solves common problems you face in the Ag industry because we believe that there is a better way too. Let’s work together to make farming fun again.

Interested in counting and sizing ten trees in ten seconds? Watch this video. Give us a call so we can set you up with the solution you’ve been thinking about when it comes to recording inventory at your nursery.

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