AgExpert successfully earns farmers trust with ADT Seal
The biggest struggle Farm Credit Canada (FCC) encounters with collecting customer data for their platform AgExpert is trust. This is not on AgExpert but is a common theme throughout ag technology today. Marketing and Sales Manager Greg Thomarat tells ADT, “Our research has proven that there is still a large deficit in customer trust with Ag-tech companies who manage farm data. At FCC, this is something we have worked extremely hard to build and will continue to take very seriously.” Thomarat credits Ag Data Transparency with helping them achieve this.
AgExpert, founded in 1983 as Settler Software, was the first agriculture-specific accounting software in Canada. Its mission has been, and continues to be, to support Canadian agriculture by providing solid, simple tools to help producers better manage their businesses. Between its two main platforms, AgExpert Accounting and AgExpert Field, AgExpert offers services such as bookkeeping, income and expense reporting, net-filing GST returns to the CRA, payroll management, management reports, data analyzation, strategic planning, and cost of production reporting. Beyond this, AgExpert boasts a world-class Customer Care team located in Regina, Saskatchewan that helps customers with everything from setting up their farm books to running management reports.
“As of publication, AgExpert manages over 6500 active users and 22,000 fields. In only 14 months of AgExpert Field being live, they have taken on 2.3 million acres with 320,000 farm activities having been logged. AgExpert proudly does business with customers in every province, covering all enterprises including grains and oilseeds, cattle, poultry, dairy, organics, fruit and vegetables, and potatoes. Is that not a strong enough track record? Recent research has shown that AgExpert customers are stronger operators across a wide variety of financial ratios and business outcomes, than were a comparator group.
Thomarat explains AgExpert’s immersion into data collection: “In 2016, AgExpert examined how we could enhance our products to better serve our customers and Canadian agriculture. Through extensive research, it became clear that Canadian farmers want access to their farm data from any device, any time, any place. While our desktop applications were extremely effective, the limitations in the technology were apparent. We moved ahead with development of a cloud-based, complete farm management platform, encompassing both Accounting and Field record keeping.”
FCC has always known that trust is an issue with data collection. Rather than advocating for a change in regulations, they decided to become Ag Data Transparent, the first Canadian company to do so. FCC’s belief is that ADT can accomplish a lot of the same objectives that new regulations would be trying to accomplish.
“FCC and ADT share very similar values. FCC is not selling, monetizing, or sharing customer data without their consent, and we are working hard to communicate this to customers. Customer data is owned by them, and we are being diligent about respecting their data. We need our customers to know how serious we take data security and privacy, and ADT is helping immensely in achieving this. We are proud to be ADT Certified.”
AgExpert employees are often surprised at how quickly hesitance about moving data to the cloud is overcome by simply explaining the concept of ADT and highlighting their 13 Core Principles. “Farmers understand the value of their data and, we believe, simply want to be in control of how it is being used. They want to use their data to improve the profitability and sustainability of their operations, but the industry needs to present solutions that will make them more comfortable with the idea of digitizing their farm records; we believe that ADT is that solution!”