Delivering results through improved data accuracy
MFA is a cooperative established back in 1914, and headquartered in Columbia, Missouri. With such a long tenure, and a 45,000-member foundation under them, MFA has always sought to keep their customers happy and provide top-tier customer service. Of course, since they’re a co-op, not only are growers their customers, but also their bosses.
“The growers we do business with are our owners, so our end goal is to make sure that the tools and services we provide make them more profitable and help make their lives easier.” Thad Becker, MFA Incorporated
Like many agribusinesses, MFA collects huge amounts of field data on a daily basis. The data collected gets turned into valuable recommendations and field analyses to help their growers increase yield year-over-year and make proactive farming decisions throughout the growing and harvest season. However, the key here is for MFA to be efficient in providing these results for their growers. But that goal is easier said than done without the right tools. The most important aspect for staying efficient is taking all of the field data coming into their system and turning it into one standardized format. Once standardized, the data can be easily mined for insights and shared internally amongst managers, sales, other colleagues, and their growers.
When selecting tools for their business, the MFA team wants to work with the best. They also want to build long-term relationships with their vendors and partners. As they considered technology solutions, MFA wanted applications that would:
- Provide standardization in reporting
- Ensure data accuracy
- Allow strong connectivity
- Provide ease of use
- Streamline training
“One thing I can hang my hat on, I know I’m going to
be looking at good data. From each of our locations,
I know the data is good.”
Thad Becker, MFA Incorporated
MFA selected to use both Summit, a desktop application, and Sirrus, a mobile and web application. These apps met the company’s need for data accuracy, connectivity, and provided the added benefit of streamlining their technology across the organization. “The standardization across the company means that my reports look the same from location to location, grower to grower. It enables communication across our team,” says Mr. Becker.
Underpinning Summit and Sirrus is agX — Proagrica’s spatial data repository that processes all incoming data into a standardized format so it can be easily shared across Sirrus and Summit for accessibility when you’re out in the field or in the office. The standardization also ensures that all data provided to growers is always accurate and consistent so it’s easy to use, and can be applied to the field as soon as possible. “What we try to do is take a service that we know is proven and know has value to our members, and put it in a form that’s easy for those growers to understand and make sure we can do a good job with it and build on it,” says Mr. Becker
Summit’s data management features allow customers to create agronomic efficiencies through flexible record keeping, all in one location. Summit is a Windows PC application that includes an enterprise-strength local data store and is built to handle large local data stores, up to hundreds of gigabytes, and seamlessly syncs all data with agX. It’s customized to support the way you work, meaning all action points can be performed in disconnected or intermittently connected states.
Used in partnership with Summit, Sirrus provides the tools needed to optimize crop production in a web and mobile application. Through data collection and management, Sirrus offers a decision support system for precision agriculture. With fully disconnected capabilities, Sirrus is a mobile iOS application that synchronizes data with agX. It provides users with in-field mobility and in-office proficiency to their tasks. Sirrus supports its users wherever their work is, whether that’s managing crop establishment, fertility, crop health, or directing a precision ag program.
agX is the underlying spatial data repository for Sirrus and Summit. All data that comes into Sirrus and Summit is standardized by agX so that it can be to be turned into results and shared with colleagues or customers. It functions in several ways – it stores agronomic data, standardizes it, syncs it, and makes it easily shareable. These features come together to let users safely store and share quality data with other users and apps, plus it takes the responsibility and hassle of cleansing and structuring data off the user’s shoulders.
After more than a decade of utilizing the Summit and Sirrus applications, MFA continues to rely on the standardization, the data accuracy, and the communication tools. “It really pays off, in our opinion, in the end making sure that the things we’re doing, we’re doing in the right way and the data we’re getting in is good.”
Going forward, they plan to increase the areas of which the applications are used and identify ways to continue to add value. MFA seeks to not only have their consultants and agronomists using the software, but also their managers, salespeople, and their own growers. “I think we’re getting to that point. Hopefully, in the near future, we’re going to be able to communicate digitally more
effectively, and it will be simple,” says Mr. Becker.
About Proagrica’s Solutions
A trusted partner for global agriculture and animal health, Proagrica helps customers make more informed decisions and grow both productivity and profitability through improved workflow solutions and actionable insights. Proagrica’s suite of technology solutions includes Summit and Sirrus, as well as agX, a big data repository with RESTful API interactions, and FarmRite. When used in conjunction with Summit Professional, FarmRite is an ideal solution in decision-support products. To learn more about how Proagrica can support your business goals, visit www.proagrica.com.