Farmers are working hard to boost productivity, improve performance and essentially reshape their businesses to meet market needs. The challenge is knowing what technology is worth the investment. What will pay off?
What if there was a warranty for a crop plan or new tech tool you considered for your farm? That’s the idea behind a new strategic partnership between Growers Edge Financial and Arva Intelligence to explore the opportunity of such a warranty.
“We don’t make any sensors, drones, seed or chemicals; we don’t do any of that, and Arva falls into that spot as well,” says Dan Cosgrove, CEO, Growers Edge. “They use data analytics to make recommendations to farmers.”
Where the warranty idea comes in is measuring the results farmers might get on their farms if they follow the practices recommended by Growers Edge, and from the data supplied by a company like Arva. “If you have a really good agronomist and you follow all the recommendations, you should see some lift,” Cosgrove says. “Where we come in when we work with Arva is that we jointly make recommendations, and create a product that helps combine that recommendation with a warranty.”
The value of a warranty for an ag-tech firm or retailer is to provide some confidence to new customers that the product or service will work — and if not, it’ll be backed up.
“It’s a two-step process: We can work with Arva — or the Arvas of the world that come up with a claim of, say, a 5-bushel-per-acre improvement, for example,” Cosgrove says. “We look at that claim and their data, and build a warranty-backed product for the farmer.”
Building a test
Cosgrove says the company teamed with Arva because of the data it offers, which is also valuable for creating a warranty-backed product. The partnership will have pilots at five farms across the United States, as well as at the Arva Research Farm in Humphrey, Ark.
Growers Edge and Arva will use the data from the pilot farms to create a product warranty for select crop inputs and new ag tech. Arva has a machine learning platform, ArvaPY; and combined with the Growers Edge analytics platform, the aim is to cut out guesswork and mitigate risk for farmers.
The key is that when farmers follow the specific agronomic practices from the Arva platform and Growers Edge, they are assured performance improvements backed by a money-back warranty managed by Growers Edge.
In a media statement announcing the partnership, Jay McEntire, CEO, Arva, notes, “The goal of our partnership is to remove some of the financial risks that keep growers from adopting new technologies and new crop inputs.”
Cosgrove adds that product warranty claims in the past could be influenced by company needs. What this partnership is working to create is an objective view of any claims. “We want to be able to verify compliance; and using this data, we can develop a more rigorous and systematic approach,” Cosgrove says. “What we’re trying to do is give farmers, who shoulder most of the risk for trying anything new, an economic tool. If something doesn’t perform like it’s supposed to, there is protection.”