How to Make Technology the Hub of Your Farm
Customer Spotlight: Brandenburg Farms
Farming is in Sam Brandenburg’s blood: a sixth-generation farmer, he’s poised to take over full control of his family farm near Milmine, Illinois, from his father in the next year. And he’s already thinking about how that hand-off will look when it’s time for the seventh generation–his three sons–to take over. With the help of Granular, Sam has turned to data and technology to help identify opportunities and create continuity for generations to come.
For the Brandenburgs, it’s truly a family operation. Since 2009, Sam has been farming alongside his father, Sam W., in preparation for the day when he would eventually take over. During harvest, the Brandenburgs are out in force: “My Uncle Andy helps us during harvest,” says Sam. “And my mom, Rosie, provides lunches for everyone and countless rides to the fields.” Sam’s wife Kimberly runs their homestead, which includes their three boys, who also have a role: “My boys are really good at reminding me of all the things I need to get done.”
Centralizing Information for a Diversified Operation
With the family farm encompassing commercial corn and soybeans, commercial alfalfa, livestock and even a truck repair operation, Sam has a lot to manage spread across several locations. This can be costly, both from a financial perspective and from a time and productivity perspective. He leans on technology to help everyone stay aligned, and to keep information up-to-date while he’s actively out in the field.
“Having software at our fingertips allows us to do inventory in the fields and on-site, and track ship loads without having to go to a computer to input information,” Sam says.
However, saving time isn’t the only benefit Sam has seen from taking a technological approach to managing some of his family’s diverse operations. When discussing how he believes technology can help any family farm who might be on the fence, he revealed, “Farm management software has helped us find flaws in billing and marketing, which makes me wonder how many flaws we made in the past that resulted in loss of income.”
Recently, he was excited to share one specific insight from Granular with his father. “Getting all the data entered showed me [that we were owed] $80,000 that got lost during harvest. Next year will be the first year I have full control from my dad. I was able to show him today how Granular pays for itself and more.”
Securing the Future
Of course, while Sam is seeing immediate benefits to his operation now, part of his attention is always focused on how what he’s doing today will impact his farm and his family far into the future. As Granular’s Vice President of Customer Success Katherine Carter noted in her recent blog, setting a farm up for a successful transition to future generations is a challenge that many farms fail to tackle adequately. For Sam, technology is a useful tool in addressing that challenge. “By keeping detailed records of fertilizer, yields, and chemical usage, I’ll be able to help the next generations compare what has worked on the ground previously,” he says. “Technology has allowed us to save designs of surface drainage or water drainage, which will also help us in the future if something were to break.”
For now, Sam says he’s excited to continue expanding with Granular, optimizing his operations and building for Collin, Caden and Cohen– the next generation of Brandenburg farmers.
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