The Why, How, and What of Farm Data Upload

Early this summer, as we were receiving excessive rainfall in Ohio, I attended a field day at our local equipment dealership. As we gathered in the building, trying to avoid the steady rain outside, one of the equipment salesmen joked with the group and said “You know why we’re getting all this rain? It’s because of all the data that we are putting into the ‘cloud’. There’s just no room for water anymore, so it’s all falling out as rain!” While his joke certainly drew some chuckles from the group, the explanation is a far cry from how data storage in the “cloud” really works. Despite all of the talk among farmers and other players in the agricultural industry about technology, data, and cloud storage, there is still a great deal of confusion about how these things work together to benefit farmers. To help simplify the process of turning data into valuable insights for farmers, Beck’s built a secure and private tool called FARMserver.

Why should I upload data to FARMserver?

Almost every farmer has at least one data-collecting device on their farm. This may be a yield monitor, planter monitor, or other type of device in a tractor cab that uses GPS to record information about your field operations. Despite all of these tools and machines, most of the data collected never leaves the device. According to multiple sources (Farm Bureau, CNH, FarmMobile, etc.), 80 percent of all yield data in the United States has never left the monitor. Farmers have already spent the money—sometimes thousands of dollars—for these devices, but are only using them for half of their potential. FARMserver is a secure, cloud-based server that allows farmers to store data from their monitors and begin to use it. Our “cloud” is simply a very large and powerful computer located in central Indiana that stores data and allows users to access their information anywhere through the Internet. It’s private in that our user agreement prevents anyone, even our own employees, from accessing a farmer’s data unless they specifically ask us for help or decide to share their data with a trusted advisor. It’s secure because all of our servers are owned and controlled by FARMserver, backed up in a second location, and protected from intruders by the most strict security standards. Farmers not only maintain ownership of all of the data on FARMserver, but they also control the data: how it is used, who can see it, and how long it is stored on FARMserver (data can be removed at any time, if desired). How does the data upload process work? Once you decide to use FARMserver to store and utilize your data, you will soon find how simple it is to use. First, export the data from your monitors. Copy the files from your memory card or USB flash drive into a zipped folder on your computer and upload the zipped folder to FARMserver using our Farm Data Upload tool. Once it is uploaded, FARMserver takes over.

By Mike Hannewald, CCA Field Agronomist