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I just came back from a farm show (yep, another one), and I heard something that made me bolt upright in my seat.
The keynote speakers were considered master farmers, deeply knowledgeable about every aspect of farming. Every single one of them said there was one main problem in farming:
How do farmers manage and organize all of their data into an actionable format?
That’s the million dollar question. What the heck do we do with all this data we collect?
Oh, man, did that prick my ears up, because that’s exactly the problem that the Cash Cow Farmer software addresses.
Afterwards, there was a breakout session. People came around, and I explained Cash Cow in 15 minutes, just like this:
Imagine you’ve got all your fields sitting in front of you, and you know what it costs on each field to produce corn, wheat, soybeans, sunflowers, and whatever else you’re farming. Therefore, you know what each field’s level of profit is. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
They all agreed.
Everybody was talking about my product, they just didn’t know it.
How to Judge a Farm Management Solution
One man at the show spoke about all the data imaginable that farmers could keep. But when I asked if he had any information on the return on investment of all that information, he said, “No, we just have all the cost of it.” That doesn’t compute with me: as a businessman, I want to make money off the information I gather.
People are inventing new technology without proving its ROI. As farmers, we’re sometimes tricked into buying the latest and greatest this, that, and the other snake oil. You used to be able to burn money to try new things, but now margins are way too tight for that.
I don’t want to spend a dollar unless I’m going to get more than a dollar back. None of us do. So how do we figure out our return on investment?
A solution has to have three criteria, in my opinion.
1) It has to be easy to use
You shouldn’t have to be a computer programmer to use it.
2) The data has to be actionable
Once you’ve invested the time to input the data, it has to be actionable. That’s one issue I have with some of the other management programs. You spend all this time putting in your information, and at the end of the day, what do you get?
It’s like cranking the jack-in-the-box, waiting for him to pop out and give you cash—but he never does.
3) It has to be cost-effective and provide a good return on your investment
You can’t go out and spend a crazy amount of money on a farm management program if you’re not going to use it or if it’s not going to increase your money several times over.
A lot of farmers like to think about cost per acre. Here’s a real-life example of return on investment.
On Cash Cow customer farms 40,000 acres. He pays the same price for the software as anyone with over 25 fields—$1,500 a year. If you break that down, he’s paying pennies per acre, but the information that’s returned to him is worth hundreds per acre.
In my case, I lost money on two fields this past year—out of 50. And I only lost about $4 an acre on each field. That’s a testament to the fact that the program works.
Why does it work? Because, as a wise man once said, “Knowing is half the battle.”
Farm Management Alternatives
You may or may not choose to use Cash Cow Farmer or another solution like it. Let’s look at some of the alternatives you have.
Whatever you’re using, you need an accounting program like Quickbooks. You need to categorize your expenses.
As for what Cash Cow does, the old-fashioned alternative is pencil and paper. Once you’ve done it once, though, it’s a lot of work to change it again—so you’re gonna have to buy a lot of erasers.
The other way is to use a spreadsheet. There you can type in formulas. That was one of the main tools I used before Cash Cow.
But you’re going to invest a lot of time building a spreadsheet. Plus, it’s overwhelming. It doesn’t really fall under the easy-to-use category, even after you put in the time to build it.
Which is why I built Cash Cow. Spreadsheets weren’t checking off the three boxes I mentioned before, so I thought I’d come up with a better way to do things myself.
The number one thing you’ve got to do as a farmer is take action. Your farm isn’t going to take care of itself.
I’d love for you to try out the Cash Cow Farmer software. Everybody can sign up for a free trial. It doesn’t hurt to try it out, and you can talk to one of our customer service representatives if you have any preliminary questions. We’re around to help you with the business side of farming and give you the tools that a Wall Street analyst would have at their fingertips.