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Cows take to the cloud

01/15/2014 @ 12:48pm

Merging technology with cows was a natural fit for Matija Kopic. Although he was born and raised on a large farm in Croatia, the young entrepreneur’s real passion was computers. Yet, agriculture was never far from his thoughts.

“I was always thinking about how I could use my computer science skills to help my father and his farming friends make their work easier,” says Kopic. “It was the reason I started working on a solution that allows producers to easily track their basic activities and to figure out how each of those activities influences their bottom line.”

His answer – Farmeron – is a Web-based data service (farmeron.com) that aggregates the reams of information being generated about an animal’s diet, health, reproduction, milk production, and antibiotic use.

“Farmeron is an easy-to-use tool that tells you how well you are doing in real time and how your everyday decisions impact your margins,” Kopic says. “From the very beginning, the technology was cloud-based. I think the decision to go with the cloud was the right one because you can easily access your information and achieve a number of other benefits, as well.”

The cloud premise, Kopic notes, has three distinct advantages. It is accessible, it is collaborative, and it drives data. “You are storing your data on Farmeron’s cloud servers because it gives you certainty about your data never getting lost, and it gives you the ability to access it from anywhere, any time, by any person in your team,” he notes.

Yet, data security is a top priority. “You need to understand the data is owned exclusively by you. Under no condition is Farmeron allowed to manipulate your data without your prior consent.”

However, by allowing Farmeron access to information, the company feels it not only improves the service, but also helps you paint a realistic picture of what’s happening in your operation compared to others. At 100% participation, it’s clear that customers understand the benefits.

“Farmeron wanted to bring a simple concept, called activity-based costing, into the product to make sure every single activity – whether it’s herd, inventory, labor, machinery, or any other resource – is taken into consideration while trying to figure out the true performance of a cow.

Animals are living, breathing profit centers. Activities that are monitored and tracked around animals are cost drivers. Farmeron gives you the tools to develop a very precise cross-section analysis of your operation’s performance and its future potential,” Kopic says.

Like too many other software programs, some of the farmers who tested Farmeron in its early stages tended to quit using it because the data was too cumbersome. That’s when Kopic began focusing on an easier way to upload paperwork to the cloud.

“I realized farmers really rely on spreadsheets,” he says. “I knew thatwasn’t going to change, so I focused on making the analysis and the dashboards as quick and appealing as possible.”

Inputting and analyzing months of data that once took days for you to wade through is now available instantly.

For now, Farmeron is geared toward dairy and beef. Depending on herd size and location, the fee for Farmeron ranges from 50¢ to 80¢ per animal per month. There are discounts for up-front yearly and lifetime commitments.

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