Growing Ideas: Farmers’ freshest crop? Data

Farmobile takes the data revolution to the field

Jason Tatge, Co-founder and CEO of Farmobile, describes his vision of “keeping farmers farming” with a tool that passively collects data. The goal is to help farmers access and profit from the valuable information they generate each day in the field.

“Agriculture is one of the largest and oldest industries on the planet, and it’s probably the single largest industry where we have the least amount of digitized data.

“When I was growing up, I can remember my grandfather constantly being involved in discussions about the price of grain. The people who make all the money in the grain market don’t even know what it looks like. Our goal is to do whatever we can to keep farmers farming – to help solve the problem my grandfather spelled out so many times.”

“Agriculture is probably the largest industry with the least data”

- Jason Tatge, Farmobile

A record from the field

“We have this device called the PUC that we can passively collect data with from a mixed fleet of equipment. That data is sent into a database and we organize it into what we call an electronic field record. An electronic field record is the digital recording of all the activity that machine had on the field during that work session.

“The information is consumed by the farmer to be able to go back and look at: when did I plant? What seeds did I plant? When’s the best time to apply certain application to the crop in season? – decisions we make to try to increase yield.”

“The cool thing about data”

“But also, it allows the farmer to be able to share the digital copy of the data with their trusted advisors.
The really cool thing about data is: it’s not like your regular crops where you can only sell them once. Data you can sell three or four or five times, and every year your data becomes more valuable. As you accumulate it, you’re able to start to see trends on how one year compared with another year compared with another year.

“We believe we can create a marketplace for that data. If a buyer comes to that platform, they’re able to make an offer to that farmer to purchase a licensed copy of that data, similar to the way a musician would sell music on iTunes.”

“Data’s not like regular crops where you can only sell them once”

- Jason Tatge, Farmobile

From data to sustainability

“Rabobank started off as farmers helping farmers, and that’s really what Farmobile is all about.

“We all know that we have a challenge in agriculture to be able to serve the growing population. I think with data we are not only going to be able to meet that need, but we are going to be able to do it in a more responsible manner as well.”

For more agtech innovation, watch out for FoodBytes!, the Rabobank initiative connecting agrifood start-ups with industry leaders and investors. The first FoodBytes! pitch competition & networking event in London is on September 13, 2018. Learn more and get your tickets here.