Growers' trusted advisors have always been a phone call away; now, technology allows for new, interesting ways to reach them – namely, using a video chat app such as FaceTime, Skype or AgriSync.
The latter was actually designed with farmers in mind. Most farmers have a small team of retailers, consultants or other trusted advisors they tap for agronomic or technical support throughout the season. But when is a delay waiting for a service call merely a hassle, and at what point does it become a real problem?
“That’s what we’re trying to address – how do farmers get timely help when technology breaks?” according to AgriSync president Casey Niemann.
AgriSync is an ag tech startup that helps connect farmers to their advisor network through video chat. Neimann says time is a commodity, and when something is broken, the clock is ticking. Could a quick video chat save a two- or four-hour service call? Not always – but it doesn’t hurt to check first, he says.
“Most tech breakdowns don’t need a wrench, they need an expert set of eyes,” he says.
AgriSync is free for farmers to use (advisors pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee to join).
Nathan Mueller, an Extension cropping systems educator with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, says farmers are beginning to use another smartphone resource to get on-the-go resource – each other. Using Twitter, he has seen a growing number of farmers and crop consultants connecting on this 140-character-or-less social media network.
“It’s one of the best platforms to talk about farming conditions,” he says. “I have a group of farmers sending me direct messages all the time. It’s a great way to connect.”