Agri-Data goes global

A Red Deer-based company has struck a deal that could take an agricultural data management system it developed across the United States and beyond.

Rob Saik of Agri-Trend logs onto the Agri-Data Solution web site Monday.

A Red Deer-based company has struck a deal that could take an agricultural data management system it developed across the United States and beyond.

Agri-Trend Data Corp. and the J.R. Simplot Company of Boise, Idaho, have created a joint venture company to market the web-based system, which compiles and converts agricultural data into a form that can be easily managed and shared.

The intent is that the new company, U.S. Agri-Data Solutions LLC, will deliver the Agri-Data Solution Netware Platform to producers and processors.

Rob Saik, CEO of The Agri-Trend Group of Companies, which includes Agri-Trend Data, said the Agri-Data Solution system was developed here in 1999 as a way for farmers to transmit information about their operations online.

“We were quite far ahead of our time figuring out how to do this over copper wires into rural areas,” he said, recalling how the system helped earn his company recognition at the 2002 Alberta E-Business Leadership Awards.

Now, said Saik, data related to everything from manure management to carbon sequestration can be easily managed and shared with others, such as crop advisers and other specialists.

“We can have experts from Australia or anywhere in the world working on that farmer’s land with him in real time,” said Saik, using the example of a crop pathologist who is assessing the condition of a distant field.

“That allows the pathologist to make a better diagnosis of what the problem might be.”

The system is popular in Canada, with several million acres on the data platform, said Saik.

J.R. Simplot, which is active internationally in phosphate mining, manufacturing fertilizer, ag production, food processing and other ag-related pursuits, was interested in a data management system. That led to two years on testing the Agri-Data Solution system on commercial potato farms in Idaho.

“Potatoes are fairly intensive crops, so there’s lots going on,” explained Saik, listing irrigation, weather conditions, fertilizer and crop protection as among the factors at play.

And because potatoes go straight to processors, information related to food safety is particularly important, he added.

Bill Whitacre, CEO-elect of JR Simplot, said in a news release that a system that promotes good production practices and facilitates traceability was important to his company.

“The foundation for demonstrating good stewardship and sustainable farming practices begins at the field level with on-the-ground data management and documentation,” he said.

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