Investing in Tech
FARMER ADOPTION – BACKED BY THE STATE OF THE FARM SURVEY
In recent years, there has been some debate when it comes to farmers and their willingness to adopt new technology. This being one of the reasons our team issues an annual State of The Farm survey, gathering insights from farmers across the United States regarding farming practices, and their usage of technology, payments and finances. For the State of Farm Survey, nearly 1,000 farmers were surveyed from the geographic areas below.
Of those surveyed, 79% reported the use of FarmLogs, an 8% increase from the 2020 survey. FarmLogs is a farm management software that Bushel acquired in 2021. The software allows farmers to manage and track their crops efficiently. Additionally, 59% of the respondents reported they use a combination of technologies as part of their farm’s “tech stack”. Their “tech stack” refers to the bundle of different technologies they use in their day-to-day farming activities. Whether it be through the Bushel Platform or others, 25% of respondents shared that they already use an app to sell their crops. Furthermore, showing that farmers can and do use technology in their farming activities.
THE FUTURE OF AGTECH; A PAPERLESS FUTURE
As technology evolves, paper is becoming a thing of the past. What was once just an app for growers, is now a powerful digital platform. There are many steps in the grain supply chain that rely on paper. Paper contracts, paper checks, paper scale tickets, etc. Bushel’s goal is to take paper out of the equation. Bushel Mobile, Trade and Web are platforms provided for customers to streamline information to their growers simultaneously.
With the integration of eSign and electronic scale tickets in our mobile and web features, there is no longer a need for a paper trail. Electronic scale tickets remove the risk of growers potentially losing their ticket and needing a new one. Growers can now go in and view their scale tickets, past or present, at any time of the day.
The painful process of mailing and waiting for a contract to be signed and returned is tedious, and may take days or even weeks. In some cases, people may even have to take the time to drive to their elevator to sign the contract. This is why Bushel implemented eSign. ESign gives the elevator the ability to send contracts via Bushel Web or Mobile, a platform where growers can sign and return the contract within minutes of receiving it. Growers also have the ability to view their contracts at any time of the day. Therefore, removing the hassle of transporting the contract, turnover time, and the possibility of either parties forgetting contract terms.
“We had people driving 20 miles from their farm to sign things. It’s [Bushel eSign] pretty much eliminated all of that because everybody carries a phone with them, and most everybody can write their name on it.“
– Brian Smith, Manager of Software at Riceland Foods, a Bushel Mobile, Web and Trade Customer
Taking phone calls with growers asking questions such as “What are the bids today?”, and “What’s my commodity balance?” can be time consuming for an elevator of any size. Depending on the number of growers, that’s however many conversations to remember and people to relay information to, etc… All these questions can be answered by Bushel Trade within the Bushel Mobile app and Bushel Web. The mobile app and website are there to aid your growers in any questions they may have around bids, hedges and balances. Additionally, lowering the amount of calls makes more time for elevators to spend strengthening their relationships with their growers through more meaningful conversations.
The hassle of paper checks is a thing of the past as Bushel recently announced the launch of Bushel Wallet and Payments. This allows grain facilities to electronically transact with their growers. Funds can then be transferred to their linked bank account or immediately accessed through the use of their Bushel Debit Card. The use of electronic payments eliminates the risk of growers losing and needing a replacement check, as well as elevators having outstanding checks.
FARMING AS A RELATIONSHIP-DRIVEN INDUSTRY
Results from the 2022 State of Farm Survey also demonstrate that the majority of farmers see farming as a relationship-driven industry. Rather than acting as a barrier to developing those relationships, the use of technology appears to facilitate those relationships, especially for younger generations.
Bushel understands that phone calls are important to elevators when it comes to their relationship with their growers. The goal of AgTech is not to stop those phone calls, but to make them more intentional by providing information to both parties in order to make them equally educated. Rather than acting as a barrier to developing relationships, technology seems to facilitate relationships, especially for younger generations.
“We have been very happy with the information that our customers are able to get. We are now able to have more meaningful conversations with our customers.”
– Bryan Choutka, VP of Grain at Frontier Cooperative.