Eighteen years ago Rick Murdock and Pete Clark saw a need for a service that no one was providing at the time. The pair noted that in many cases, farm managers or farm operators- call them what you will- the people actually doing the planting, spraying and sometimes buying inputs- weren’t always the ones who were summarizing revenue and cost information, and entering it into financial records. Perceiving it as a gap and disconnect, they formed Ag Connections.
As of last fall, the company is a wholly –owned subsidiary of Syngenta.
Murdock, one of the co-founders, took time to answer questions about what his company does, and who can benefit from it.
IPF: What exactly was the hole you sought to fill with your service?
Murdock: We saw that many operations needed help with basic farm recordkeeping. GPS and precision farming was coming on, but the people in the field using it and doing the work often didn’t have knowledge of the accounting information. We saw that there needed to be a connection between the farm manager and the accountant.
How do you describe what you provide today?
Murdock: Our goal is to help farmers better manage information. Maybe they need it because they are selling crops to a food processing company who wants more information, or maybe they need it to answer questions as they interact with FSA.
So is this a planning tool?
Murdock: Yes. You can use it to compare what actually happens in the field to your plan of what you intended to happen. We can also use our program to help managers prepare work orders for employees on larger farms.
Where does Syngenta fit into the picture?
Murdock: We were providing the technology piece for their Agri Edge program for growers. We worked with them over many years. In October of 2015 we sold the company to them, but remain in charge of it.
How does a farmer get your service?
Murdock: It’s provided when he joins the Agri Edge program offered by Syngenta. There are other parts to the Agri Edge program. We typically work through retail channels, and they work directly with farmers, rather than us working directly with farmers. We are the piece that ties everything back to the financial side of things.
Are you working with other companies in the industry to help collect a farmer’s data?
Murdock: Yes. Syngenta has an agreement with myjohndeere.com and Case IH Connect so data collected in the field through those systems can feed into our program. We look for more of these types of relationships in the future.