Using tech to help farmers

Written by Jake Olson, Outside Sales Representative at FarmLogs

When I heard about an opportunity to work at FarmLogs, I knew it would be a perfect match for me. I’ve loved farming ever since my very first tractor ride when I was just a few years old. My family has a corn and soybean operation in southwest Iowa, and I knew that someday I wanted to work on the farm or with a company that was progressive and actually helps farmers. What drew me to FarmLogs was the idea behind the company’s mission to provide unbiased information to make farming better.

Jake with his grandpa on his family farm in southwest Iowa

I get to talk with growers all across the country every day. I can be talking to a cotton grower in West Texas one minute, then a guy in Maine who’s a vegetable farmer, to a guy in Oregon who is farming organic sweet corn, or to a grower just up the road from our office in Clive, Iowa. You never know who’s going to be using FarmLogs, and it’s interesting to see how farmers across the country are using it for all different types of crops. My favorite thing is seeing how technology has been helping growers: how much money it’s saved them, how much more efficient they are, and the benefits of using it.

Challenges faced by today’s farm

Farming goes in waves, and it’s always been hard, but farmers don’t do it for the pay. It’s not just a job for us, it’s a way of life. With lower commodity prices, everyone is trying to decide on what practices are going to make them more profitable. The American farmer is very resilient, and we have been farming for bushels for so long that we don’t really think about the profit side of things all the time. With today’s high input prices and lower commodity prices, managing the overall bottom line is the biggest challenge that I see a lot of farmers facing today.

Jake’s view from the tractor on his family farm in southwest Iowa

Helping family farms incorporate technology

Working at FarmLogs, I’ve realized a lot of growers out there want to use technology to improve their operations, but a lot of times they just don’t know how to get into it or understand exactly how it can benefit them. A lot of what I do is pure education, letting farmers know what our technology can actually do and how it can help.

It’s getting to the point where a lot of the younger generations are about to be taking over the farm. There are also people like my uncle, around 40 to 55 years old, that are now the decision makers on the farm, and they’re a little bit more open to technology than the previous generation. They see how technology can help them pass the farm down to their kids. It’s fun to see them opening up to technology, but it’s going to be the next generation that is really going to adapt really quickly, and they’ll know how to use it and know how it benefits them. Our technology is really easy to use, but there’s definitely a behavior change that our farmers and their families go through when incorporating software into their operations. The exciting part about my job is that I get to help bring technology to farms, some that are even over 100 years old.

Jake at Commodity Classic, a national farming convention

Being part of the ag community

Attending ag events and meetings is really about education. You’ll learn something about your farm or about somebody else’s farm that you didn’t know before, and a lot of times if something’s working for your neighbor, it’s probably going to work for you too.

Every farmer knows that they could be doing something better, whether it be better scouting, record-keeping, planning, or marketing, but they might not know exactly how to improve. And to be honest, most of us are always competing with the guy next to us. At one of our FarmLogs User Conferences last year, we asked a group of growers, “How many of you think you could be farming better?” Only a couple of people raised their hands. Then we asked, “How many of you think your neighbor could be farming better?” Everyone raised their hand.

Jake teaching a producer how they can use satellite imagery on their farm

It’s great getting to show farmers first hand how FarmLogs can work on their farm. It’s pretty eye-opening when you can pull up FarmLogs Crop Health Imagery of somebody’s field, and they can show you exactly what happened and how they went on to try to fix it or try prevent it for the next year. It’s a great opportunity to learn about new tools and how to use them to make you a more efficient, more profitable farmer.

Events like our User Conference, trade shows, and farm shows are also a great place for producers to get to know the people behind FarmLogs, firsthand, and to see what we have to offer and what we stand for. As an independent company, we really take a farmer-first approach. We’re able to provide unbiased information because we don’t care what seeds you buy or what chemical you buy as long as it’s making you money. We just want to help you be the best farmer that you can be.

This summer, we’ll be traveling all over the country and talking to a lot of different farmers. Going out on the road gives me the chance to hear exactly what farmers are doing to fight their challenges and to come up with solutions, and hopefully part of that solution is FarmLogs.

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