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Ag Guardian App Tracks Inputs Used
A 3-inch-high stack of tickets from input suppliers was a familiar – and frustrating – sight to Marty Williams. For more than 20 years, the now-retired Arkansas farmer grew rice, corn, soybeans, and wheat. As each new growing season arrived, so did the daunting task of tracking chemicals and fertilizers delivered to his fields.
“During the busy months, my wife would pay the bills, but she had no idea what I was putting on the fields and no way of knowing if the bills were accurate or not,” says Williams. “She would stay on me until I went through the stack of tickets.”
Even though he would look through the pile, he admits he couldn’t be sure everything was being billed correctly.
“I knew what chemicals and fertilizers I had put on my fields, but I really didn’t know exactly how much that added up to each month,” he says. “There were just too many papers to look at, and the information was hard to analyze.”
Yet, he didn’t want to pay for a product he didn’t get. “Money was too tight to let billing errors go unnoticed,” says Williams. “I didn’t realize how big of a problem billing errors were until I started helping farmers with input reconciliation. As I worked to determine what their cost of production was, the problem with tracking chemicals and fertilizers was the one thing I found they needed the most help with.”
That’s when the retired farmer-turned-accountant developed Ag Guardian. It’s an app that keeps a running total of the products you’ve applied to your fields.
How it works
Once you download the app (available for both iOS and Android devices), the fields are set up and the number of acres in each field is identified.
“As you purchase inputs, you can add in where you purchased it from, the price quotes you received, the amount applied, and the applicator that put it on,” says Williams. “After you get your fields set up, it will take less than a minute to enter the rest of the information.”
“I didn’t realize how big of a problem billing errors were until I started helping farmers with input reconciliation."
As inputs are tallied by the app, you can then compare that figure to billed amounts.
“When you receive your bill from a supplier, you can request a total summary,” he explains. “If the app total matches what you were billed, you won’t have to go through the 3-inch stack of tickets. However, if the app shows you used 750 gallons of Roundup and you were billed for 900 gallons, where are those other 150 gallons? In the shop? Or is it a billing error?”
Bryan Moery, Caney Creek Farms, Wynne, Arkansas, was fairly confident the bill he had received for chemicals and fertilizer last June was accurate. When he received an identical bill a month later, he knew he had put them on, so he told his daughter to go ahead and pay it.
“When Bryan and I were reviewing his records, a version of the app caught three tickets totaling over $40,000 that were double-billed,” says Williams. “In today’s farming environment, you simply cannot afford to miss mistakes like that. Catching a single billing mistake could easily cover the $100 annual fee for Ag Guardian.”
The app also includes a feature called Get A Quote, which lets you request quotes from suppliers so you can comparison shop for the best price possible.
The app is cloud-based, so you can log in wherever an Internet connection is available.
The best part, notes Williams, is that the app is very user-friendly. “If I don’t keep it simple, I know farmers won’t use it.”