“No more clutter. Show me the margins. That’s the beauty of Simple Farms,” says Colorado producer and app creator Scott Scheimer.
Frustrated with the bottlenecks of data collection, redundancy of inputs, never-ending forms and lost data, Scheimer created a stand-alone tool to help growers reveal break-even points by precisely tracking field inputs. The result is a bottom-line, gamified app and program: Simple Farms.
Scheimer farms sandy loam on the flatlands of eastern Colorado in Cheyenne Wells. Almost entirely dryland, he grows corn, grain sorghum, millet, soybeans and wheat. “Margins are so thin, and we have to pay such close attention. I wanted to develop a tool to track all of that.”
Simple Farms covers field-to-field operations centered on crop types. “It analyzes your breakeven for those crops based on market price and yield. This is a farmer’s calculator like nothing that has ever been available,” Scheimer explains.
Initial setup on a laptop or tablet takes a few hours, and once the basics are established, a smartphone can run the program. “It’s so simple, almost like a game. You go in on your phone or pad and make acreage or chemical selections, and you’ll see exactly what it’s costing you to take care of that field within 20 to 30 seconds.”
Fertilizer, herbicides, planting, irrigation and more options are time-stamped and synced with NOAA data. “You’re the only one that sees your data,” he says. “The way it tracks day-to-day operations is awesome. Build and put in financials and it handles depreciation, repairs and maintenance. Also, there is not integration of data, so if you plug in the wrong info, you can just go back and make changes anytime.”
With today’s razor-thin margins, it’s crucial to track every dollar. In 2019, Greg Andrews began using Simple Farms on his 6,000-acre operation, which produces alfalfa, corn, soybeans and wheat. “Our margins are so tight on fertilizer and seed, and every dollar counts. I have a real need to know more about the cost of every crop, so I know where I stand at all times. This app is so easy to use and that was one of the big things that attracted me, because everything else I find is so complicated.”
Nick Hevner has a foot in two worlds. He is a full-time ag lender at The Eastern Colorado Bank, and works on the Hevner family farm outside of Cheyenne Wells. He and his father, Scott, grow corn, grain sorghum and wheat, in addition to cattle production. On a daily basis, Hevner has a front-row seat to today’s economic challenges: “Any tool someone can use to monitor margins and be aware of where you’re at all times is vitally important to allow you to make decisions in real time.”
The tool is a fit for farms of any size, Hevner contends. “This monitors your crop daily and is a great fit for small guys with less buying power, or for bigger guys trying to keep track and perspective as money flows out fast. As a banker, I’d be excited to see my clients using it as well.”
Simple Farms costs $100 per month per farm entity, broken into semi-annual subscriptions. You can pay extra for help inputting your day. “This is a tool that tracks everything in a simple manner to help farmers,” Scheimer adds.”
To watch a demonstration of the Simple Farms app and learn more, visit bit.ly/Simple-Farms-App