June 6, 2016

Farm Management Conservis: Using Data to Drive Decisions

In the last seven years, a new paradigm has arrived: a powerful combination of cloud-based software and proactive customer service to automate, track and optimize all facets of a farmer’s business. It’s called Enterprise Ag Management, and Conservis is leading the way.


The Foundation

Conservis, led by CEO Pat Christie, was conceived after a group of four Midwest farmers, at an agtech conference, sought out a solution around workflow management. The Conservis team started developing a farm management system that would help farmers—specifically row crop growers at the time—solve complex issues. Their work resulted in an enterprise ag platform that aggregated key information needed for operators to make data-driven decisions. The platform replaced paper and spreadsheets by allowing operators to easily input and access harvest information from any computer or mobile device. After years of focusing on row crop farms, Conservis began taking steps to broaden its product and share the vision.

“Conservis started as a farm management solution for row crop companies that provided a solid foundation to serve other crop types,” said Edward Siemek, vice president of sales at Conservis. “We constantly listen to our growers to find the real business needs. Together, we transform our company and expand our platform to meet the needs of each market segment we target.”


Entering the Tree Nut Market

In 2014, Conservis developed its first solution for the tree nut market. Conservis noticed that the business problems faced by tree nut producers were very similar to those the company helped address with row crop growers. Conservis revamped its platform to improve functionality and focused on building features that gave tree nut farmers more control to make cost, production and investment decisions. Aside from the day-to-day operational benefits, data collection at the farm-level is transforming the way growers adhere to sustainability, traceability, regulatory and food safety demands.

The enhanced platform gives owners and operators real-time control—from planning, purchasing, planting through harvesting and inventory management. “With information in one easy-to-access location, companies can make better, more informed decisions which maximizes profitability and drives a more sustainable operation,” said Siemek.

Once information is in the system, it can be easily accessed, using analytics to identify areas of underperformance. The platform allows owners to better control costs in an operation and get their organization to a position where they can explore other opportunities. Growers are also able to compare results year over year to see what worked and to better manage future spending.

In addition to pulling analytics for internal use, information can be selectively shared with others, such as investors and other external stakeholders. All farming data is backed up in the cloud so information will remain safe and secure in the event of a computer crashing or a tablet getting lost.


Expanding Operations to the West Coast

Conservis serves farms across the United States, Canada, Australia and Eastern Europe and recently expanded its U.S. operations to the West Coast. In February 2016, Conservis became part of the team of agtech innovators working out of the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology in Salinas, Calif.

As a resident of the Center, Conservis is able to collaborate with a strong network of agtech startups and experts to develop solutions for growers and advance technology. Additionally, the company—along with the other 14 current residents of the Center—has the opportunity to receive feedback on their platform from industry professionals, network with other Western Growers’ members, participate in ag and business seminars and be mentored by leaders in the ag and tech industries.

“Farmers face a tremendous amount of pressure—from regulations to worker access. We want to continuously develop technology that eases their workload so they can drive towards doing more with less,” Siemek said. “The Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology will create new ideas to help farmers become more efficient, and we are excited to be part of that effort.”