How farm management is evolving like the smartphone did

Kristen Johnson FMS Benefits, Latest Blog Posts, Product Success, Thought Leadership

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Sherman Black, CEO of Conservis, makes an interesting comparison between the evolution of farm management and the evolution of the smartphone.

“Let’s look back at the mobile phone. I started with a phone in a bag. Next, I had a brick with an antenna. As the cell phone advanced, it got smaller, sleeker and soon we had a clamshell design that looked like something out of Star Trek. Meanwhile, alongside that phone, I was using a thick Franklin Planner to keep my calendar (which became a PalmPilot). I had a handheld GPS for directions, a digital camera, an MP3 player for music and a Blackberry for email. Working with this stuff was quite a juggling act.”


“Let’s look back at the mobile phone. I started with a phone in a bag. Next, I had a brick with an antenna. As the cell phone advanced, it got smaller, sleeker and soon we had a clamshell design that looked like something out of Star Trek."

Sherman Black, CEO

Sherman continues. “Then we arrive at 2007. Apple takes all the functionality I just mentioned and puts it in one device behind a single screen. Eureka! The iPhone showed us how revolutionary technology delivers astonishing integration, convenience and great leaps in productivity.”

Right now, farm management is at a similar revolutionary moment. First came handwritten entries in a Farm Family Record book (some legible, some not). Then came Excel spreadsheets with paper printouts used in the field, which were susceptible to everything from coffee spills to rain to countless errors, and included piles of receipts and records kept who knows where. Today, some farmers have a mishmash of standalone “smart” tools that may provide one kind of data but don’t integrate well to offer the comprehensive view needed for efficient management.

It’s Eureka time again. The Conservis farm management system enables a farmer to run their entire operation on one platform that synchronizes all the critical data in real time—from planning to harvest—giving them the convenience, integration, and productivity needed to grow.

And on the subject of growth, we had a talk with Bernard Peterson, who along with his family, runs Peterson Farms, a steadily growing grain operation in the heart of Kentucky’s bourbon country. He told us how their management system has evolved over time to where now they count on Conservis in so many ways—including helping them out of one very hot situation.

“My parents started with written record books in the 1960s and ‘70s working with the Kentucky Farm Business Management Program,” Bernard said. “Because everything was handwritten, they were always filling holes in the data where records and receipts went missing or were illegible. Then at season’s end, in December, they would send in their records. The data went onto a big mainframe computer and an analysis would come back in June or July. Hardly real time,” Bernard joked.

“As seasons came and went, we got good at managing some aspects, not so good at others. Our data wasn’t integrated so we couldn’t see the big picture. We jumped onboard with Conservis about nine years ago working on the inputs side. Right away we discovered some honest mistakes in billing, which we immediately corrected. Our accounting and inventory got much more accurate. Our managers got much more productive. It freed us up to grow to where now we’re over 16,000 acres of corn, beans, and wheat. Today we manage an increasingly complex operation with one easy-to-train-on, easy-to-use platform.”

As for that hot situation, Conservis helped Bernard with: “There was a fire in our shop that spread to the attached office. I was afraid all our data literally went up in smoke. The first thing I checked was if the latest backup was safely stored offsite. I sure was relieved to learn it was, thanks to Conservis.”

Today, Peterson Farms has a stellar reputation for producing impressive quality and quantity. And Conservis is proud to have grown alongside them with software that helps get things done without getting in the way.

If your farm management is behind the times, find out how Conservis can help take your operation to the next level. Interested in setting up a phone call with someone on our regional sales team? Hopefully, you won’t be calling from a phone in a bag.

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