The friendship between a farm equipment company executive and owners of a company that manufactures tools to perform soil core and soil gas sampling led to the creation of Veris Technologies in 1996.
“I had been working for 17 years at Great Plains Manufacturing on the business side and decided to leave,” Eric Lund, president and founder of Veris Technologies, said. “I was friends with the owners of Geoprobe, which can send probes into the earth 20 to 150 feet to check for environmental contamination in the soil. Together, we thought we could bring technology and equipment together to monitor soil information for the agriculture industry.”
Lund explained that they wanted to create a new company to specifically reach the precision agriculture industry. “The equipment Geoprobe manufactures is not used in farming. Agriculture needed on-the-go sensors with GPS receivers on them.”
In the beginning, Veris Technologies partnered with Geoprobe to develop the sensors needed for soil mapping. Today, the two companies are separate but maintain a strong connection. Veris Technologies’ first product was the Electrical Connectivity system, which senses soil for both texture and salinity. The company’s Soil EC Mapping Systems are still a mainstay of the Veris product line.
Lund explained why Soil EC is important. “Soil EC is soil electrical conductivity—a measurement of how much electrical current soil can conduct. It’s an effective way to map soil texture because smaller soil particles such as clay conduct more current than larger silt and sand particles.”
As the company grew, it added on-the-go soil pH sensing, a visible and near-infrared spectrophotometer and precision rate controllers. Researchers in laboratory settings have found visible and near infrared reflectance (VIS-NIR) measurements of soil samples correlate to important soil properties such as carbon and nitrogen.
Up until Veris Technologies began manufacturing on-the-go soil sensors, this type of technology was typically only available to a few university researchers and not easily available to crop consultants, agronomists and retailers.
“Veris was able to move this technology more into the mainstream agriculture industry, which hadn’t really been done before,” Lund says. Lund firmly believes in the vision of the company, which is why he named the company after the Latin word for truth. “Veris has the same root word as in verify, veracity, etc. Truth is important, and I believed it was a good basis for our company and its name. We view our equipment and the maps they produce as helping find the truth about soil variability within fields.”
In further differentiating this company, Lund said, “We were the first company to combine the sensitivity of sensor technology with the ruggedness of farm equipment. Up until our products came on the market, attempts to deploy sensors in the field had failed because they were often fragile and weren’t able to stand up to farm field conditions. When people see our products, they often comment on how sturdy and rugged they are. We are proud of that.”
Lund is also proud of his team. He employs 10 and shares several other employees with Geoprobe in the company’s headquarters in Salina, Kan.
“Our team is extremely creative at solving challenges. It’s what sets us apart. It took their ingenuity to develop products that can withstand the intense conditions of being in variable soils.”
Today, the company sells products across the United States as well as 30 other countries.
“Our products help people solve farmers’ soil variability problems whether they are here in the United States or in other countries.”