Jun 30, 2021

Protect Your Company from a Ransomware Attack

Ransomware Guide provides recommended best practices in preventing and preparing for attacks

May 17, 2021

Why Should You Care About the Digital Divide?

In a time where connectivity is increasingly vital, millions of Americans still cannot access the internet

File Photo

Dec 3, 2020

How Digital Innovation is Driving Change in Agriculture

Companies need to define their transformation strategy to becoming a digital organization or fail to compete against more agile competitors

Sep 8, 2020

What Your Customers Really Want in an App

Do native mobile apps work for the agricultural commodity industry?

Jun 10, 2020

Data Democracy in Agriculture

Unlocking the insights hidden in your data

Mar 24, 2020

Postmodern ERP: A Return to Pragmatism

Postmodern ERP is an approach that recognizes that every agribusiness is unique and needs to formulate a strategy based on their specific needs

Jan 31, 2019

Optimize Belt Cleaner Tension to Maximize Performance & Life

Advice for cleaner, safer, more productive conveying

Jun 26, 2017

CRM: A Love/Hate Relationship - Part 3

Best practices to successfully launch a CRM program in agribusiness

Jun 19, 2017

CRM: A Love/Hate Relationship - Part 2

Now that we discussed the "hate", let’s dig into the "love" side of CRM

Jun 12, 2017

CRM: A Love/Hate Relationship

Part 1: What agribusinesses can’t stand about Customer Relationship Management programs

Mar 21, 2017

How Old is That Mission Critical Software That You Are Using?

It's never an easy decision to update old software but companies will reach a point where the future risk outweigh the present pain

Jan 12, 2017

Rural Broadband Issues – Slow and Bumpy Digital Roads!

Rural America still has major connectivity problems as it trys to participate in the modern age

Dec 19, 2016

New Technology Could Transform Agriculture

The ideas behind Bitcoin may one day transfer to agriculture

Nov 17, 2016

Should We Fear Robots and Artificial Intelligence?

Charlie muses on the world of Artificial Intelligence and what it will mean for agriculture and the world.

Oct 20, 2016

Tech Talk Adds New Author

Charlie Trauger draws on his production ag and software background to provide perspective on technologies affecting commercial agriculture

Photo by Blue Coat Photos

Apr 5, 2015

Corn Research is Complex, Fast-paced and Promising

New generations are available faster; new techniques focus on external control, rather than gene modification

Photo by AgReliant Genetics

Aug 13, 2014

What Can a Control System Integrator Do for You?

Think your multiple automation systems are out of control? Here's your answer! A control system integrator is a company that designs and implements sophisticated control systems for manufacturing, process and other industrial facilities. Using their knowledge of engineering, information technology and business, system integrators integrate plant equipment to automate manufacturing and processes from the plant floor to the enterprise level.

Dec 6, 2012

Cloud Accounting with Freshbooks

Solution removes confusion, frustration and long hours spent invoicing clients

Nov 5, 2012

Square Up For Easy, In-the-field Payments

My son is in Cub Scouts and loves to take part in the annual popcorn sales fund raising program. He has always done well but I felt could have done better if we had a way to accept credit cards, so this year we down loaded the Square Credit Card App on my iPhone and improved his sales by 20% which is roughly the amount of revenue we brought in by credit cards.

Square is an amazing service that works with your mobile phone, you simply down load the free app onto your phone, signup, and plug in the free card reader. There is a 2.75% fee when you do a transaction, so for every $100 you bring in there is a $2.75 fee. This is very low fee compared to most traditional credit card processing companies. For companies that have large transactions there is a fixed fee program which is $275/month for unlimited usage.

Here is how I envision an ag Business using the Square technology: Imagine your employee going out to the field to deliver some lubricants at harvest time, the farmer hands the employee the credit card, who swipes it through the reader plugged into his phone, an amount is entered along with any optional details, the farmer signs the phone screen for confirmation and a receipt of the transaction is forwarded via email or text. The funds are then deposited from Square to the ag businesses local bank account.

If you let your imagination go you can come up with many ideas of how this type of technology may be used by ag businesses in the future. Someday your employees may walk around with a phone capable of taking payments while you monitor the sales in real time via your office computer. You may even be able to see that a salesperson has just received a payment at the end of a field via Google Maps.

To learn more visit www.squareup.com

Oct 4, 2012

Has Your CEO Seen the ROI of the VOIP?

Ten years ago I switch our home phone service that Qwest provided to a VOIP service, which stands for “Voice Over Internet Protocol.” The VOIP service works the same as the old-fashion phone except it used high speed internet to carry the conversations vs. the traditional phone line. Five years ago I was so pleased with how the home phone VOIP service was working that I subscribed to the service in our offices. This new technology costs a fraction of what traditional phone services cost and comes with many amazing options to help you’re ag business communicate with clients and employees.

One of my favorite features are Answering ruleswhich route calls based on the time called, caller ID or the number called. Imagine having a system that routed calls based on the caller ID, let’s say your company has a grain broker that you communicate with often and when he calls, the system automatically routes his call to your desk and cellphone at the same time, this potentially saves your broker, the secretary and yourself time and money. How about that important farm client that you want routed directly to you; they would really be impressed?

Another feature that is very useful is the “find-me” tool. Let’s say you have an office phone, cell phone, shop phone & home phone and you don’t want to make your clients call all your phones. Your client simply calls one phone and based on your phone settings will call each phone separately in the order you wish.

One last feature I will mention is the ability to setup custom extensions and recorded messages. Imagine setting up an extension called “daily grain bids”, when the client goes to that extension they are played a recording of the closing cash bids and then given a choice to press the #1 to speak to a grain merchandiser, once again another happy client.

I subscribe to Ringcentral.com and pay around $40 monthly, this includes unlimited long distance, an 800 number and all the wonderful features of the system. There are many other service providers to choose from such as 8x8.com, nextiva.com and getjive.com.

Sep 6, 2012

Web Meetings: Work Smarter Not Harder

TODAY'S AGENDA

  1. Meeting with John Doe in Waterloo to go over grain contracts
  2. Meeting with Bob Doe in Valley to go over 2012 grain programs
  3. Board meeting in Main Office to discuss new storage facility
  4. All company safety meeting at Duncan location
  5. Present 2013 Budget to General Manager in Main Office

Does this type of schedule look familiar to you? It’s hard to get much done in a day when you are running all over the country. Today, you can become more efficient if you utilize the new communication technologies that provide web meeting services.

A Web meeting will work great to conduct your meeting with John Doe, discuss his existing grain contracts by sharing the screen on your computer with him or let him take control and share his screen with you. If you really want to add the personal touch you can even activate the camera on your computer and show your face.

What is needed to do a web meeting?

  1. Web meeting service provider
  2. Computer for all participants
  3. High Speed Internet for all participants (84% of farmers have high speed internet)

To start all you need to do is log into your account; in this case I’m using www.gomeeting.com,

Then click on host a meeting and a screen will be presented to enter the meeting information. A meeting email is then automatically formatted for you to send to the recipients.

The recipient then clicks on the link in the email at the scheduled meeting time and everything begins to appear on their screen in a few short minutes.

The monthly service fee starts at around $50 per month for unlimited meetings. This fee can easily be justified by eliminating one or two drives to a meeting. The monthly subscription is only charged to the business hosting the meeting; guests do not pay any fees to utilize the service.

I believe this is a must have service for today’s agribusinesses.

A few web meeting service providers are:

www.gotomeeting.com

www.webex.com

www.office365.com

join.me

Jul 30, 2012

Organize Your Online Life

Today agricultural professionals spend more time than ever before on the computer reading email, searching the internet, working with software applications and entertaining themselves. Keeping your digital life organized continues to be a challenge with emails you want to keep, web pages you want to save and documents that need filed.

EVERNOTE is a software application that has made its way to the top of the digital organization industry. EVERNOTE can be installed on your smart phone, tablet, laptop and desktop. Once installed you have access to all the digital information you have organized in one convenient place no matter what device you are using.

So when you get to work in the morning and you receive an email with a detailed quote for a new grain bin you want to build, all you need to do is “forward” the email to your private EVERNOTE account [email protected] and then you have access to the email on all of your computer devices, this comes in very handy if you are out of the office and need to have a copy of the email.

Now imagine you are visiting the Feed and Grain website and you find an article you would really like to keep, all you need to do is click on the EVERNOTE Elephant button in the upper right hand corner of your web browser and file the article to your EVERNOTE account.

EVERNOTE can be found incorporated into many of the browsers you are currently using such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox & Safari. Just look for the “elephant” and you will find EVERNOTE.

Finally, imagine you are visiting some local farmers and taking pictures of fields, bin sites, etc., and you want to file the pictures for futures use; simply send the picture via email to your EVERNOTE account.

We all struggle with how the manage the endless amounts of information, EVERNOTE is a great option to help tackle the the challenge. You can give the service a free try by going to www.evernote.com .

Jun 18, 2012

Drop the Complexity of Document Management with Dropbox

Have you ever found yourself needing access to a particular document you had stored on a jump drive or work computer? If you use multiple computers and mobile devices such as phones or tablets there is no doubt this has happened to you.

Dropbox is brilliant technology that gives you secure access to all your work documents such as client invoices, grain contracts, pictures, marketing pieces and any other documents. These files can be accessed by any computer or mobile device and can be setup to automatically synchronize whenever an internet connection is detected.

Sharing files with employees or customers is as simple as sending an email invitation to the individual. Once the invitation is accepted they have access to only the file you chose to share with them. Grain elevators or other ag businesses can use Dropbox to give clients access to private files and documents such as grain contracts, cash grain bids, invoices or other data you wish to share with one or multiple clients. When you update a document, the client will also have access to the updated file. Below you will see “ABC Grain Elevator” and then three subfolders “Carlson Farms,” “Frank Farms” and “Grain Bids.” The two client subfolders will be used to share client specific grain contracts or other private data. The “Grain Bids” file will be used to share daily grain bids with all clients.

Documents too large? Have you ever tried to attach a large document to an email only to have it be rejected by the email provider? Dropbox is a quick fix for those large documents, simply store the file on Dropbox and share it with the intended recipients; it’s that easy.

The best news is that you get two gigabytes of space for free, that is a lot of space if all you’re saving is text files such as grain contracts or cash grain bids. If you choose to store all your files on dropbox it will only run you around $10/month for up to 50 gigabytes.

Link to Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/

Edit note: Mark Frank’s blog posts will focus on how agribusinesses can use new technology to improve daily operations.

Recently Added to Buyer's Guide

HP FiberBoost©

  • Contains functional fibers produced specifically for dietetic use in piglets
  • Fiber stimulates gut and eases transition at weaning

Huve Check-Feed

  • On-site screening test to detect monensin, including Monovet® 90, in feedstuffs
  • Produces accurate, reliable results without adding microtracer particles to feed for detection methods

VM-13.3 G

  • Industrial-grade 13.3-inch LCD monitor
  • Full HD resolution: 1920 x 1080 (1080p/60)

Safety 101

  • Designed to keep all safety activity in one place across all locations
  • Mobile Inspection App to perform walk-around inspections, toolbox talks, JSAs and more

GMS Mixer

  • Fast and gentle mixing
  • Two horizontally arranged, superimposed mixing tools

Centrifugal Sifter

  • Can process up to 100,000 kg/hour, removing foreign bodies as small as 0.1 mm
  • Can be situated in gravity-fed configuration or within inline processes such as a pneumatic conveying line

Magazine

Marketwatch: Oct, 26

cmdty National Corn Price Idx: ZCPAUS.CM

open: 5.1614
high: 5.1895
low: 5.139
close: 5.1704

cmdty National Soybean Price Idx: ZSPAUS.CM

open: 11.8617
high: 11.9478
low: 11.8144
close: 11.943

cmdty National Hard Red Winter Wheat Price Idx: KEPAUS.CM

open: 7.5274
high: 7.5849
low: 7.5238
close: 7.5716

cmdty National Soft Red Winter Wheat Price Idx: ZWPAUS.CM

open: 7.0893
high: 7.1297
low: 7.0671
close: 7.1023