Pedro Schambon said to me, “Ramon - first and foremost I’m a farmer”. His tall frame, worn hands and tanned face, tell that story. My Father’s Farm, set on 52 acres, grows herbs and vegetables and sells them to consumers and markets throughout Texas.
Pedro, the founder of the farm, with his wife, explained to me that one of the biggest challenges of being a farmer, especially an organic farm are the myriad hoops of regulations and certifications they must go through to meet federal and local regulations. Since My Father’s Farm wants to be certified as organic they must also have various certifications from 3rd party organize certification organizations.
Pedro thought, there was to be a better way. He is all farmer and part geek, so he went looking for a solution to better track the day to day operations of his farm. Indeed he found a variety of options and ended up using Zoho Creator, to create a custom database to track the details of their planting, harvesting and everything else. Now when they’re audited by regulators they can quickly have the data needed to satisfy the regulatory requirement.
Roxette Casarez, customer service director at My Father’s Farm, said that by using Zoho Creator they can get out of using paper, which dramatically increases their productivity. This productivity is seen not just in the back office operations but also the front line staff who are responsible for the day to day farming operations. Pedro showed me how with a few simple clicks on a phone one of his employees can input the data needed by regulators or certification organizations.
While the need for certification and regulatory compliance are essential, other benefits include the ability to extract insights for better farming. Indicators such as the areas yielding a better harvest; knowing when are are optimal times to plant or harvest and so many other insights that would be critical to a farmer’s success are optimized when tracked in a database.
Farming is not a highly profitable industry. It’s tough work with so many variables of success needed to make it work out well for the farmer. However, by leveraging technology to increase productivity, operate more efficiently and use data to make better decisions, farmers can win.
Pedro and Roxette expressed that the farming industry is a dying industry. In particular, the regulations make it so tough. Hopefully as farmers get the help of implementing better technology in their industry, more farms will thrive and be a success. The world needs farmers and their farms.