Managing With Metrics

A program that measures costs and captures other key farm data helps growers build more productive, profitable operations.
Managing With Metrics
They say you can only manage what you can measure. Growers have never been afraid of technology, and they're managing their farms better because of the metrics they capture through field data. As technology continues to improve, so do their farms' productivity and profitability.

The Syngenta AgriEdge Excelsior® program gives growers a way to manage their farm operations more efficiently. One of the program's most popular components is its data and record-keeping software called Land-db, which helps growers measure the costs of everything they do.

"Making sure you don't overspend has always been, and always will be, the main issue for farming," says Pace Hindsley, who operates Coffee Creek Farms in Marvel, Arkansas. "This program helps to control and watch what you spend on each crop."

The software, developed by Ag Connections, captures information associated with a farm, including yield, timing of sprays and compliance reporting, as well as input costs and return on investment. Then it tracks, measures and examines each acre to see if it's profitable - or not. The newest version is cloud-based and can run offline or online across multiple devices.

Pete Clark and Rick Murdock, co-owners of Ag Connections, worked previously as retailers. They both know the industry and what drives the farming business. "We are putting tools in the hands of growers, so that they can track their inventory, revenue and yield," says Murdock.

Safe and Secure

Extensive data gives growers the opportunity to measure their performance so they can make better farm management decisions; but, understandably, they are concerned about privacy and security. Syngenta has implemented several safeguards to help ensure privacy, including housing data through a third party and implementing contracts.

"The control has always been in the grower's hands," says Jack Schuyler, Syngenta sustainable sourcing lead. "The AgriEdge Excelsior program incorporates a contractual agreement around grower data usage, security and confidentiality, whereby Syngenta only sees the data if the grower gives permission."

The Ag Connections Data and Privacy Policy complements and reinforces its trusted relationship with growers, notes Murdock. As a result, four simple principles guide the policy:

  • Grower data is the property of the grower.
  • Ag Connections only uses the data to support the grower and as authorized by the grower.
  • Ag Connections only shares grower data as requested or authorized by the grower.
  • Ag Connections does not analyze, aggregate or data mine grower data unless requested or authorized by the grower.

The Syngenta AgriEdge specialists provide a different, but important, kind of security for growers - comfort in knowing that the specialist assigned to them will personally come to their farms to help them learn and navigate the software technology. The specialists have a full understanding of the entire AgriEdge Excelsior program, which encompasses the product portfolio, the technology and optional risk management. Also, Ag Connections has support personnel who are available via phone or Web to address any questions or concerns about the Land.db software.

A Win-Win for Retailers

Whole-farm management, the cornerstone of AgriEdge Excelsior, relies on collaboration with a grower's business partners. "We have a solid working relationship with Syngenta," says Steve Seamon, national marketing manager for Helena Chemical Company in Memphis, Tennessee. "The AgriEdge Excelsior program has enhanced that relationship even more, and it's enhanced our collaborative relationship with the grower. It's a win-win."

Seamon says that while it took time on the front end to work through the program's logistics, it has proven to be well worth the effort. "There's a lot of work that goes into the program, a lot of moving pieces," he says. "But the goal is simple: Build the relationship with our growers together and provide better solutions for them. The end result builds a better business for everyone."

AgriEdge Excelsior Story: Secrets of Success