Long before cloud computing, artificial intelligence and the gig economies where revolutions that changed the world, and even before the revolution of capitalism and the industrial age, there was an even more transformational revolution which changed society forever. I am referring, of course, to the agricultural revolution, the period when our forebears gave up their hunter/gatherer nomadic lifestyles and settled down to an agrarian lifestyle of more systemized agricultural production.

While synthetic protein may well be part of our future, the fact remains that our continued existence is predicated on being able to source food, food that is increasingly created en-masse and in massive scale, divorced from our day to day lives.

So while we may have very little awareness of where the milk or meat at our local grocery store comes from, suffice it to say that it comes from agrarian operations that, other than the more recent application of mechanization and chemical fertilizers, is largely unchanged from how it looked millennia ago.

The state of agriculture today

But if the basics of agriculture have changed little from all those millennia ago, the scale certainly has. In the new age of farming, industrial farming companies are managing not just one but hundreds to thousands of farms all at once. Farms are often in multiple countries or states with varying labor laws and have different contractors, procedures, and crops. This sort of complexity makes it difficult for companies to collect and analyze data for important insights.

Given this context, it is interesting to hear of PickTrace, who is releasing Command Center, a solution designed to manage this level of complexity so companies have control over their operational efficiency, from each farm down to the individual workers in the field. This is aimed at allowing farming companies to make data-driven decisions like never before in the farming industry.

What is Command Center?

Command Center helps farming companies make data-driven decisions despite the complexity of their operations. It does this by collecting granular level data about field operations via devices on the who, what, where, when, and how much. Collecting such data points allows companies to track metrics at the macro and micro level. For example, companies can see the efficiency of individual workers or take a macro view to look at the efficiency of their operations on a per farm basis or by state/region.

Command Center is aimed at delivering these data insights into the decision making processes of diverse business units – HR, Production, Operations, Compliance, Food Safety, Quality Control, and Executive teams. As a practical example, HR teams can use Command Center to analyze wage data on workers and detect inefficiencies in worker’s production rates.

Who is PickTrace?

PickTrace, are an agtech company based in the SF Bay Area (where else?) The company builds software tools specifically for farming companies and has a diverse range of agricultural entities as customers including:

  • Washington Fruit – the largest apple grower in the country
  • Wonderful Citrus – the largest fresh market citrus grower in the country
  • Gourmet Trading Company – top asparagus producer in the country
  • Riverpoint Farm – the largest onion producer in the country
  • Munger Farms – largest blueberry grower in the country

MyPOV

Of course, PickTrace isn’t the only company trying to apply technology to food production, but as an example of how data can improve the oldest industry known to humanity, this is an interesting glimpse into the future.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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