It is an awesome news that a small agri-tech startup won a lawsuit recently, filed against it by a big fish in the industry – for that startup is empowering the farmers whom the big fishes have left out high and dry.
Farmobile helps farmers reap a new harvest – data. In the company’s own words, It helps the farmers collect, store, touch, share and sell the data related to their farms thus opening a new passive revenue stream.
Data and Privacy issues are at the center of debates in this century. After all, it is a lucrative business model for those who know how to use the data. it has only been a couple of months since Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the Senate for selling private data of Facebook users.
In the agriculture industry, farmers have always had limited control over the data related to their crops and harvesting practices. Again, in Farmobile’s words, “From Big Ag to Silicon Valley and back again, the race to gather farm data is on.”
A lot of people know how to use this data and are willing to pay. Be it satellite companies who want to capture images of what is being produced. Or insurance companies who want to better understand their risk. Or tractor companies who want to gauge terrain. Even food companies can use this data to see what’s coming to market. The list of all who can benefit goes on.
Farmobile doesn’t find it acceptable that farmers are not involved in this transaction.
The Startup Story
Jason Tatge was born and grew up in Kansas. He spent a lot of his time as a kid on his grandfather’s farm. He remembered his grandfather saying, “Jason, don’t be a farmer. Farmers always get screwed.”
But Jason had already fallen in love with farming. He traded commodities like grain and even built a mobile marketplace where they could be traded. After selling that company to DuPont, Jason focused on using IoT technologies to collect data from farms. Jason was quick to anticipate a marketplace developing for this data.
He was seeing what was happening to user data. Jason remembered his grandfather, and realized that he had an opportunity to change his grandfather’s notion that “farmers always get screwed”.
He started Farmobile to build tools to empower the farmer. Jason and the company stand for #FarmerPower.
In an interview with Farming Industry News last January, Jason said
“I believe that monetization of data is already happening. It’s just happening without the farmer’s involvement. A lot of this data’s being acquired in ways that farmers don’t completely understand, and then they get nervous and don’t know what to do. We have a very short window in history right now for farmers to be able to stand up and say, ‘This is important to me, and we want to protect this because this is our trade secret. This is our intellectual property. This is our uniqueness.”
What does Farmobile sell?
The company builds Passive Uplink Connection (PUC) Devices that the company lovingly pronounces ‘Puck’.
The devices can connect with the farm machinery within minutes and start uploading data on a secure Farmobile cloud. As the farmer works in the field, PUC creates an Electronic Field Record, called an EFR.
The farmer can share this data with anyone they like at a price that they like. Twice a year, at the end of your planting and harvest season, you can certify your data for purchase. Doing so will put your EFRs in the Data Store, where buyers can come to you.
With its own Data Store, Farmobile’s platform is bringing real transparency in which farmers and the industry at large can access and use data from the farms.
Data is the infinite commodity. You can sell it multiple times to different buyers each season. Its value compounds year-over-year. Turn on new farm revenue streams by licensing the data you are already collecting.
Farmobile collects more data points than anyone else in the industry giving decision-makers the best information possible. All records are sourced directly and rigorously certified to ensure their quality. This makes it a valuable commodity for a variety of businesses to understand and sell better to the ag market.
If there is one thing that you’d like to remember Farmobile by, you can take away this quote.
“Everybody takes from a farmer. Nobody gives. That has GOT TO change”
— Jason Tatge
Featured Image Credits: Farmobile