Lonnie Schmidt aims to create a full-service offering for his spray application clients, from communicating with the grower’s agronomists directly to picking up the chemicals from the warehouse for them and accurately invoicing; high service levels are key throughout the process. Lonnie was using a legacy farm record keeping software to keep track of all his applications but it did not fill all his requirements and did not allow him to offer a seamless service to his growers.
After one of his clients, who already used Agworld, asked Lonnie to join them on the Agworld platform, Lonnie agreed and began utilizing Agworld with this one grower in his first year. The next season Lonnie switched over to Agworld completely and had the agronomists in his area join him on the platform too.
Because Lonnie now has an integrated data-flow from the agronomist in the field to the warehouse and straight to Lonnie’s iPad, he always knows exactly which jobs need to be done and what the parameters for each job are. Once a spray job is completed, Lonnie can send all job information to the grower’s inbox with a simple click of the button. At the end of each month Lonnie has a good overview in Agworld of which jobs need to be invoiced and what the size of each job was. As a result of streamlining the flow of information, it has become easy for Lonnie to create a full-service offering for his grower clients.
Agricultural communities around the world are known for the strength of their social fabric, with farmers forming an intricate support network with their suppliers, contractors, clients and neighbors. The introduction of digital tools has caused some of this social fabric to lose its strength through limiting personal interactions; however, because of the collaborative nature of Agworld’s digital tools this doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, Lonnie Schmidt, Schmidt Custom Spraying, Buhl, ID, is an agricultural contractor that has managed to digitally reinforce and strengthen the relationships with his clients: “Providing a high-quality integrated service offering is what I specialize in and my digital tool, Agworld, has helped me achieve this.”
Lonnie Schmidt moved to Idaho from Mississippi to initially work for a custom farming organization. When Hefty Seed Company opened up a branch in Buhl, ID, Lonnie joined forces with them as a custom spray contractor business to service their clients. Lonnie: “I’m in my 10th season now doing custom spraying and I usually spray between 18,000 to 24,000 acres per year with my John Deere R4044. I service approximately 40 clients ranging from 200 acres up to relatively large dairy operations. I manage their spraying throughout the season; from fertilizers and pre-emergence herbicides through to post-emergence herbicides and mitecides, and anything in between. With servicing a large number of diverse clients, I think it’s easy to understand why I need a good digital tool to help me keep track of my jobs.”
Lonnie continues: “Around 95% of my work comes from the Hefty Seed Company agronomists, who will send their jobs directly through to me in Agworld. So, the agronomist enters the recommendation in Agworld and then sends this as a work order through to me on the platform. Instead of having to check my emails or deal with scraps of paper, I have every single work order right here on my iPad with all the pertinent information I might need for that job - product name, product label, application rate, field location, you name it and I’ve got it right where I need it in Agworld. When I’ve finished an application, I then mark this job as completed in Agworld and I can easily email the job overview straight from Agworld to the grower, so they have everything they need for record keeping on their side as well.”
A full-service offering
Where some custom spraying contractors might get a call from a grower to come spray a field with the chemical already sitting at the filling point, Lonnie has made a point of making this process as simple and care-free as possible for his clients: “When an agronomist creates a recommendation for a field in Agworld and they send me a work order, the grower doesn’t need to take any action on their part, which is important as extra steps in this process can cause delays. When I’ve received the work order, I then drive to the Hefty Seeds warehouse to pick up the chemical - Agworld’s ‘shopping list’ tells me exactly how much I need of each chemical to cover the fields that need spraying, which saves me a lot of manual calculations and potentially errors.”
“From the warehouse I then go straight to the field, and if it is my first time spraying a field Agworld guides me to the correct field, to perform the application exactly as requested by the agronomists. The grower will get notified via email, sent straight from Agworld, when a job has been completed, but they do not need to take any action during the process. From where I’m sitting, this is about as full-service as a custom spraying operator can be and I know from my clients that they like the way in which I interact with their business, which is very hands-off for them.”
Lonnie concludes with: “When I finish a job in Agworld I add a ‘not-billed’ tag to it, so I know exactly which jobs I need to invoice at the end of each month. When I create the invoice in Quickbooks I have a special field on my invoice for the Agworld ‘actual ID’ so that my clients know exactly what they are paying for. With the process I have in place, growers will only ever see the spray record and the invoice for each job that I’ve performed for them, which is exactly how they like it: full-service and as simple as possible on their end.”
"From where I’m sitting, this is about as full-service as a custom spray operator can be and I know from my clients that they like the way in which I interact with their business, which is very hands-off for them."
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