Infrastructure has always been a key component of agriculture’s competitiveness. Even today, we fight for upgraded locks and dams or investment in rural broadband to efficiently grow our crops and get them to market. Is digital grain storage, tracking, and marketing the next infrastructure step?
For one company, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Bushel’s co-founder Jake Joraanstad has been working since 2017 to make digital scale tickets a reality. He describes the old methods of having many members of the family delivering grain, misplacing scale tickets, losing them out open windows, and simply not having an accurate understanding of your own grain in an easy and accessible way.
He built the solution in 2016, a scale ticket app that became a huge success for one local grain elevator. Today, his system is this and much more.
“Bushel is a software platform that allows farmers to check in on the business they are doing with the facilities they sell their grain to,” says Joraanstad. “The next phase of competition is ‘How does our infrastructure digitize?’ From a digital perspective, we have to figure out how to be the best in the world there because in the next couple of decades it’s going to matter.”
Today, Bushel’s system will track grain storage and allow grain merchandisers to pivot quickly as the market changes day to day and hour to hour. It provides market information like futures prices and cash bids to both grain merchandisers and farmers in real time to make those fast market shifts work for you instead of the other way around.
Because Bushel works with local grain elevators to streamline deliverables for their farmer members and customers, it also functions to keep grain elevators local and farmers in their communities profitable. Grain sales are happening in real time instead of taking 20-40 minutes of phone calls, potentially missing the hoped-for price point.
Bushel’s website says it best: Just as one truck cannot keep up with higher yields, the tools from ten years ago cannot serve the needs of today.
Farmers can also rest assured that security is a primary focus for Bushel as well. All information is transferred via a “secure tunnel” of encrypted code so that even if someone accessed your password, they would still not be able to steal your data. Bushel works at making their platforms secure without making them more difficult for the user.
“What we believe at Bushel is that we have to make the tool dead simple. It can’t be something where you have to have somebody come and train you for something as simple as checking a scale ticket. We need to do a better job in the technology space making it easy to adopt. It’s on us to make the tool better.”
Bushel is not the only digital platform available to farmers and grain merchandisers, but it is one worth checking out. Bushel is working to build the digital infrastructure that agriculture will require to modernize their processes and participate in a fast-paced, global market.