indiana Prairie Farmer Logo

A new Indy-based company is making landowner relations easier with an online records management platform.

Allison Lund

March 21, 2024

3 Min Read
A farmer sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle sorting through paperwork
ON THE GO: Keeping physical records around the farm and electronic records on your phone can make them easily accessible. Allison Lund

Many farmers store important farm information in their minds — but what happens when that information is needed by the next generation? That is the question Indianapolis-based Oaken is trying to answer.

Oaken was set up with initial funding by Purdue Dial Ventures and the Halderman Real Estate and Farm Management Group. Founder Shashi Raghunandan launched the platform in 2023, and today, Oaken serves farms in seven states.

Addressing a problem

Raghunandan noticed that often, landowner information such as contract details and payment due dates are kept in the farmer’s head. He wanted to find a way to convert those mental files to electronic files that could be shared with others in the operation.

“Having all this data organized is really important so that if something were to happen to them, then their heirs would know where to go and look for this information,” Raghunandan says.

Passing that information to the next generation is just one reason that Raghunandan sees value in this new software. It also makes coordination with landowners easier.

Kassi Rowland of Tom Farms in Leesburg, Ind., is one of Oaken’s first clients, and she works with 135 landowners, which she refers to as land partners.

“It’s a lot to take care of,” Rowland says. “You have the contracts, payments and all of those things. Oaken has really streamlined all of that.”

How Oaken works

Oaken stores all landowner information in an online platform that can be accessed with a monthly subscription. It ranges from $250 to $850, depending on the operation size. All interested clients are eligible for a free trial period. Raghunandan also explains that they can input your information at no additional cost.

Once users have access, they log into an online platform at oaken.ag using their credentials. They can then navigate the site by clicking on different tabs that organize contracts, phone call logs and notes, landowner birthdays, and individual farm information.

Rowland is grateful to have all that information in one spot. “The efficiency that brings is really important,” she says.

While Rowland manages a large number of land partners, she recommends farms with around 10 landowners or more try using Oaken. For now, she continues to work with Oaken’s team to improve the platform for future users.

“As more growers use our platform, we’ll learn more,” adds Anwar Parvez, chief technology officer at Oaken.

Keeping records in writing

While Oaken provides an efficient way to store information electronically, Roger Berry, a farm management coach from Galveston, Ind., recommends also keeping a physical notebook or binder of go-to information in various places around the farm.

The binder’s first page should include information such as important phone numbers for doctor’s offices or poison control, according to Berry. The binder can also house maps of farms, landowner phone numbers, information about machinery and protocol to follow in case of different emergency situations.

“If some emergency comes up, there may be people who need to access that notebook,” Berry says.

Placing several copies of that notebook or binder around the farm and in machinery can ensure all farm employees have access. Berry adds that farmers can take pictures of the information and share it with farm employees, so they have it in multiple places.

With various options for electronic and physical record organization, now is the time to determine how it can be incorporated into your operation.

Read more about:

Record keeping

About the Author(s)

Allison Lund

Allison Lund is a staff writer for Indiana Prairie Farmer. She graduated from Purdue University with a major in agricultural communications and a minor in crop science. She served as president of Purdue’s Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow chapter. In 2022, she received the American FFA Degree. 

Lund grew up on a cash grain farm in south-central Wisconsin, where the primary crops were corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. Her family also raised chewing tobacco and Hereford cattle. She spent most of her time helping with the tobacco crop in the summer and raising Boer goats for FFA projects. 

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like