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From Seed to Screen: FarmQA's Vision for the Future of Ag Tech

A young green plant sprouting from the soil, illuminated by bright sunlight. The background features digital graphics and hexagonal patterns symbolizing futuristic elements surrounding the plant.

Howard Dahl, Founder and chairman of FarmQA

Howard Dahl

Founder, FarmQA

Back in the 1980s, a wave of innovation swept through agriculture. Many of us in the industry, myself included, were captivated by the potential of precision farming – the ability to apply the right product, in the right place, at the right time. Passionate about the possibilities, we bought a soil sampling company, but the technology to achieve the “precision” dream was still in its early stages.

Fast forward to 1994, and I was fortunate to be involved in the development of the first air seeder with variable-rate fertilizer placement. This was a pivotal moment, providing a glimpse of the future and a concrete step towards the vision we all shared. Few things were more exciting than to see that first prototype accomplish that task.

An air seeder manufactured by Concord, Inc. used to plant small grains and oil seed crops.
Howard and Brian Dahl incorporated Concord, Inc., which became the leading manufacturer in the United States of Air Drills, used primarily for the planting of small grains and oil seed crops on large acreage. Credit: Amity Technology

A Decade Later: A Disconnect Between Vision and Reality

A decade ago, while preparing for a presentation on available tools for precision farming, I was struck by a sobering realization. Despite these early advancements, agriculture remained one of the least digitized industries. An oft-cited McKinsey report at the time said that out of 24 industries, agriculture was the least advanced with digital tools. This disconnect between vision and reality fueled the creation of FarmQA. Fast forward again to today and FarmQA is helping bring about some of the early aspirations we had regarding precision farming.

Listening to the Needs, Building for the Future

From day one, FarmQA's mission has been simple – empower agronomists to serve their growers better. We listened intently, and the response was overwhelming. Since its founding in 2015, FarmQA grew from managing two million acres to over 21 million. We can manage virtually any crop with digital tools that allow advisers to assist growers in making timely, wise recommendations and more acres than they have ever done before.

This growth is a testament to the power of our digital tools, but it's just the beginning. The future of agriculture demands innovation, and FarmQA is at the forefront.

Graph titled 'FarmQA Managed Global Acreage Growth' showing an increase in managed acreage from 2021 to 2024. Key values: 2.7 million acres in March 2021, rising to 21.4 million acres by May 2024. The graph depicts a steady upward trend in acreage over time.
Global acreage managed within FarmQA surpassed 21 million acres as of May 2024.

Beyond the Present: FarmQA's Future-Proof Approach

Over thirty years ago, Al McQuinn, founder of Ag-Chem Equipment Co., envisioned the SOILECTION process. This innovative approach aimed to provide tools for the precise application of multiple fertilizers simultaneously, directly addressing a crop's specific needs. McQuinn's vision laid the groundwork for today's variable-rate application techniques.

While his dream wasn't fully realized at the time, FarmQA is bringing that vision closer to reality. With the power of digital tools, we're enabling a level of precision akin to a doctor's diagnosis. Our platform empowers agronomists to analyze data, identify crop needs, and recommend the optimal application of resources – just like a doctor prescribes the right treatment.

But we don't just offer solutions for today's challenges; we're building tools for the future. FarmQA's platform is designed to evolve alongside Ag Tech advancements. Here's how we're shaping the future:

Circular infographic titled 'FarmQA Digital Tools for Agronomy' with sections: Scouting, Advice and Prescription Writing, Field Journals, Soil Sampling, Analytics, Planning, and Imagery and Spatial Data Layers.
FarmQA's platform is designed to continuously improve as Ag Tech progresses.

FarmQA: Your Trusted Partner in the Ag Tech Revolution

I have learned in my many years in agricultural innovation that there is no substitute for word of mouth and 42% of our new customers come from word of mouth. It takes time to build something special. That goes for a great cathedral, a great product, or a great company. When you listen well to your customers you also know how to improve on what you are already doing that is successful.  You can never rest on what you have done in the past but must continue pursuing excellence.

For those of you who are already customers, what can we do to make your life better?  For those of you who are considering our products, we simply ask you to give us a chance to become your trusted partner.

In my experience, all the great leaders in our agricultural industry know that the most important quality to win long-term is to be a trusted adviser by doing the right thing for their customer. It remains simple: the right product at the right time in the right amount. It is always about trust.

The Future of Ag - Cultivate 2024

If you’re in Fargo for AgWeek this month, I hope you’ll join me, Barry Batcheller and Mary Snapp at Cultivate on June 13th for the Future of Ag panel discussion.

Howard Dahl

Founder & Chairman


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