If you’d like to manage your entire farming operation from a smartphone, this free web-based data storage and app allows you to do just that
If you’re tired of keeping — and probably frequently losing — separate notepads detailing different farming activities, two entrepreneurs from Saskatoon believe they’ve come up with the perfect solution. Their Farm At Hand website and mobile app allows anyone to keep key farm management information as close as their smartphone.
Instant access to the data you need to keep the farm operation running smoothly is bound to be a time and cost saver. Can’t remember how many bushels of canola you have remaining in a certain bin, or how many tonnes you’ve already delivered on a contract, just log into your personal Farm At Hand data base from a smartphone and the information is there — assuming you haven’t forgotten to record something. And you don’t need to pay a subscription fee. Personal data storage space and the app needed to access it are completely free.
“We’ve developed a cloud-based system,” says Himanshu Singh one of two co-owners of Farm At Hand. “When a farmer enters information from an app, they press the sync button and the information goes up into our cloud (server). The benefit of that is we have very secure servers and it’s accessible then from multiple devices.”
Multiple users can log into the same personalized data bank on the Farm At Hand website, assuming they’ve been granted password access. So, for example, each member of a family farming operation could log into the same data bank simultaneously, even while working in different locations.
“If you have different people working in different fields, all they have to do to enter information is press sync,” Singh adds. “That way it acts as a communications tool as well. At the end of the day you can go to your home computer and keep working on it.”
The kind of information the system is set up to keep track of runs the gamut of farm management needs. It includes such things as field records, which can document acreage numbers and data on recent operations such as spraying, seeding or harvesting. Commodity storage information, like bushels remaining in each bin along with grain types and quality. Contract delivery status. And detailed machinery fleet information.
And farmers can feel secure that their information will always remain confidential, says Singh. “We do not sell that data, nor will we ever, ever sell that data. That data is confidential and password protected.”
“If they want us to somehow access their data, we need their permission,” says Kim Keller, the other co-owner of the company. She says Farm At Hand has grown quickly since it was launched back in April, 2012, and it will remain a free service. “Farmers won’t be charged a registration fee, upgrade fee, subscription, nothing. There will never be a charge to them and their data will never be sold. If you stop and think about it, a well-run farm benefits the whole ag industry and all of us relying on a stable food source. We don’t think that should come at a cost for the farmer.”
To download the app for Apple Devices, farmers can go directly to the App store, or they can go to FarmAtHand.com and click on the App Store link. Users with an Android phone can log onto the FarmAtHand.com website directly.
“There is an app for iPhone and iPad and we have a mobile website for Android users,” says Singh. “All they have to do to use it is go to FarmAtHand.com on their (Android) devices. We started off developing for the iPhone because it’s a little easier to develop for.” They are looking into developing an app for the Blackberry.
After simply installing the app and up their personal account on the FarmAtHand.com website, farmers are free to use the system.
In the near future, Farm At Hand’s features will expand significantly. “We’re currently working on a really big update that’s going to introduce a whole host of new features,” adds Singh. “There’ll be a lot more customization, and a way more detailed equipment management section. Maintenance logs; things like that. Our goal is to always continue updating and introduce new features that are helpful to producers. What we’re working on right now has come from direct feedback from people who use our program and our app.” †