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2nd-Sight-Team-Engineers

Sometimes I forget to introduce myself. Why is this important? Knowing who you are can be just as important as knowing what you do. August will mark 2nd Sight’s seventh year in business, but we are still young in the Ag industry. For many growers, we are still an agtech start-up and considered risky to work with. Having a proven track record of successful products takes time and enough commitment from early adopters who are willing to take that leap of faith. A grower may want to know more about who 2nd Sight is before inquiring about what we do. Establishing credibility in an industry with long-time players is a challenge. You do not become John Deere overnight.

So instead of saying what 2nd Sight does, I would like to tell you more about who 2nd Sight is. We value quality, reliability, and innovation and every member of our team helps establish these principles. “Engineering Better Solutions for the Ag Industry” started with Kevin Oldenburg, Ph.D., our current CEO and President. After a short retirement, Kevin founded 2nd Sight to get back to his farming roots and bring automation to the Specialty Crop Industry. Kevin’s hobbies include cultivating a variety of crops in his own one-acre orchard and newly installed greenhouse, fishing, hunting, and is an active member of the WA State Beekeepers Association.

Kevin’s passion is to solve problems. His educational background as a Biochemist combined with his hands-on experience developing automation for the Biotech Industry at his last company, Matrical, gives him the ability to look at a problem in a new way. Kevin can also “run the numbers’ to ensure that automation and technology makes financial sense for an operation. The ROI (Return on Investment) is always a key calculation when we evaluate new automation for a grower.

Kevin’s vision to make farming more efficient and more profitable is attainable by developing quality systems that solve the biggest problems that growers face at a reasonable price. Alongside reliable products, we strive to provide top-notch support to keep the automation running. For a small company, the success of each customer is critical to establish credibility and develop a larger customer base.

In future blog posts, we will continue to feature other 2nd Sight employees. Being a small and “lean” organization means every person plays a critical role in the design, development, and support of our software and hardware systems. With life returning back to “normal” post-COVID-19, the entire 2nd Sight team looks forward to more time back in the office and enjoying Friday lunches together again.


growers-feeling-blue-blueberries

For many, 2021 has presented more obstacles to navigate as a farmer. Extreme weather in many parts of the country has taken a toll on crop production, some growers losing fruit that was close to harvest. COVID-19 vaccines are not yet widely available to reach all farmworkers which means growers must plan for another harvest of masks and social distancing. For many US blueberry growers, news that the International Trade Commission voted that no injury has occurred to the domestic blueberry market from imports was unwelcomed. And the “cherry on top” may be Washington State’s looming decision whether agricultural workers are entitled to overtime pay for working more than 40 hours a week.

Now that the bad news is out of the way, here are some 2nd Sight solutions to address these challenges.

Crop Insurance
Using electronic farm labor tracking systems provide accurate yield data per field location. Having searchable, digital records with a few button clicks makes it easy to show just how much crop you lose when bad weather hits your farm. Generating totals by year and specific blocks can help prove your case when you file a claim.

Socially Distanced Harvest
Ditch the punch cards that must be passed back and forth between field boss, picker, and office staff during harvest time. Employees can scan their RFID badges to log pieces or weight with little person-to-person contact with electronic punch card systems.

Decrease Labor Costs
Labor is more expensive in the US compared to many other blueberry producing countries in the world. Boost your bottom line by investing in ways to decrease your labor costs. Start by capturing accurate hours, counts, and weights in the field to minimize overpayments. Continue saving labor in the office with minimal manual data entry and reports that simplify and streamline the payroll process. Although there may be an upfront cost to upgrade and adapt your process, think about it as an investment and analyze the ROI. If you can pay for a system in one to two seasons with the savings, it may be time to adopt new tech.

Recordkeeping
Could you produce accurate records of employee timesheets and hours? How long would it take for you to get these numbers together? Could you identify which workers would be owed back-pay for overtime for the last three years? This is the nightmare that many growers may be facing in Washington State. It is becoming more important to have and maintain records of farm labor. Many know that California is often the first state to adopt more stringent labor laws. For those who do not have to track pieceworker time to pay rest breaks at average piecework rates, you may not be far behind this headache. Start better recordkeeping now to ensure you have all the data you need to meet the labor laws and pay your employees correctly.

Still feeling the blues?
Remember, even Plato realized that, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” The creativity in the specialty crop industry combined with new technology will enable growers to overcome these obstacles. Face 2021 with an attitude of progress and resiliency, and let us know when we can help.


2nd Sight Video Blog

The pandemic has emphasized the need for most, if not all businesses to have a strong online presence. Would I be able to find your farm, orchard, nursery, or greenhouse online? Do you have a website? Facebook page? Twitter account? With so many online channels from which to choose, it can be overwhelming to keep up. However, a blog post from Jain Irrigation, a video posted by one of our nursery customers, Foothills Nurseries, and a virtual tour of J Frank Schmidt & Son Co. all reminded me that video is an important tool to help tell a story.

Even if your farm has a one-page website and Facebook page (both of which are now quite easy to create and manage), you can upload and post pictures and videos. I look around to see what our customers and other ag tech suppliers are doing to tell their stories. Consumers not only want to know what you do, but who you are, and why you are doing it.

The Jain Irrigation blog post, “A 5 Point Checklist to Shoot Better Video” is an easy read that can get you going in the right direction if you are looking to grow your online video content. Start capturing who you are, what you are doing, and why you continue to choose the honorable profession of feeding the country, and for some, the world. Through video, you can explain and show how your nursery plays an important role in making neighborhoods, parks, and cities beautiful and green. Invest some time and money into this type of marketing because online is the new marketplace. Consumers and buyers start with the internet so you must create a good first impression for your future customers with your content.

Through the pandemic, we have found a couple of additional helpful tools to generate more video. Wideo is an online software platform that provides video templates. Is is as simple as selecting a template and plugging in your colors, pictures, and text. Wideo offers free and paid plans that help you produce professional-quality video quickly at a great price. Here are sample Wideo’s we created that explain our Pay by Weight, Pay by Piece, and Pay by Time electronic labor tracking solutions.

Many of you have joined at least one Zoom call over the last week, or maybe at least one call already today. Recording Zoom sessions is another easy way to capture product demos, speakers, interviews, and screen sharing. It is easy to convert the recording, save, and upload the video to your preferred platforms.

And finally, another great tool we discovered at 2nd Sight is Adobe Premiere Rush. For more experienced video editors, Adobe Premiere offers feature-rich software for video creation and editing. For the less experienced, or those who are simply in a time crunch, Adobe Premiere Rush is a perfect program that simplifies the video creation and editing process.

When I come across a really good product or company video, I remember it. When a farm has a nice website that not only says what they are doing, but why they are farming, I remember it (Bow Hill Blueberries and Major League Blueberries are a couple of blueberry farms and our customers that have done a great job at this). Marketing is all about top-of-mind awareness. Today, we all have the tool right in our pockets to start capturing pictures and video. It’s time to unlock the potential for your business.

 


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