S2: Trip 4 – Extra Mile – Labor + Farmers’ need for speed

By Jason Tatge | Oct. 9, 2020

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After 30 years, Ernie Chappell still considers the agricultural software business he founded, EFC Systems, as a three decades-old startup. That begs the question. When is a company no longer a startup? According to Ernie, maybe never. 

In agriculture’s ever-evolving landscape of precision ag, data intelligence and software integration if you’re passionate about driving change, the goal is to ALWAYS stay startup-nimble and NEVER SETTLE for anything less than forward-movement. In fact, change is crucial to accelerating the growth and number of digitally engaged ag retailers and growers needed for the future. 

Tune in (here) for the full Extra Mile as Ernie and Jason talk about two of the greatest challenges facing today’s ag change-makers — time and talent. According to EFC’s CEO, the farmer’s growing need-for-speed in securing more and better intelligence has added stress to ag retailers who face doing more with a significantly smaller qualified ag talent pool. Having enough “right” ag-talent to meet farmers’ exponential need for intelligence is driving even more innovation in record-keeping and farm management and planning systems.

  • ERNIE:  The growers that ag retailers are serving desire immediacy of information. But one of the big constraints we’ve found is labor. There’s not more time, and there’s a shortage of people. So we’re trying to take on more activities and more growers with less people and limited resources. So the tools EFC is delivering certainly has a component of driving efficiency for how ag retailers are executing on all of the services they are trying to provide to growers….”
  • JASON: Many of the ag retailers we work with say that about 10 percent of their acres are what we define as “digitally engaged” — meaning those farmers are sharing data with their service providers or trusted partners. They are actually doing something with the data — whether it’s figuring out where to scout, take soil samples, determine what applications or seed they should be looking for … Do you find that to be true, too, Ernie?
  • ERNIE:  We are seeing the acreage increase … Growers are actually relying on it more and more. It’s becoming the “norm.” And that’s created a need for more recordkeeping and reliance on these data insights. We see adoption going up significantly and the need for farm planning…

Tune in here for the full episode with Ernie and Jason as they talk about trends in ag-business and how EFC System has been leading the way in precision ag for decades. 

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