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Another La Nina Inbound

After a year of extreme highs and lows, drought, and late freezes, we now may be facing our third straight La Niña winter. Experts predict a 91% chance that a La Niña weather front will start this November. The odds of this weather settling in for the remainder of the winter (January-March) is much lower at 54%, but the odds still favor cold and snow to the Northwest according to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. It seems to me that finishing out 2022 with these severe weather systems is par for the course.

 

Organic Hydroponics

Modern growers raise crops using various technologies; hydroponics is one popular method. The advantage of hydroponics is that crops grow without soil; they flourish year-round, use less water, and grow faster with higher yields. Although hydroponic crops generally grow in greenhouses, growers have begun growing hydroponically outdoors as well. As hydroponics have grown in popularity, an interesting issue has arisen: can hydroponic crops, which are grown without soil, be considered organic? Over the past 5 years, various decisions and legal actions involving the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Center for Food Safety (CFS), and traditional organic farmers have wrestled with whether hydroponic crops are worthy of the “organic” tag. This issue seems to have been resolved this week as the Coalition of Sustainable Organics (CSO) announced that a panel of three U.S. District Court judges in San Francisco, California affirmed the USDA’s authority to recognize and certify organic growers using hydroponic production methods.

 

Market Expansion

As many of you may already know, piece work expands far beyond farming, and as a company who specializes in maximizing the efficiency and fairness of piece work employees, we have been trying to expand our customer market. We are proud to announce that we now have a distributor in Louisiana who specializes in the crayfish industry. The similarities between crayfish and fruit picking piece work are quite surprising. Pickers pick lugs of blueberries, weigh them, and then get credit for the weights; workers in the crayfish industry peel crayfish, fill their bin with tails, weigh them, and get credit for the weight. We see opportunity with other seafood such as lobsters, fish processing, and any other piece rate harvesting. As we continue to look at expanding our customer market, the potential possibilities seem endless.

 


Investment Versus Purchase
In business, saving money is important. In the past two years, inflation has been unprecedented, making the cost of business for some borderline unbearable. How do you combat these costs? Investing in something that will save you money by reducing labor costs.

Many people confuse an investment a purchase. Yes, an investment is a purchase, but it is a purchase made with the expectation that the purchase will make profit for you. Investing in automation, such as that offered by 2nd Sight products, can be as safe an investment as you can get. With proven low ROIs, our products help reduce the labor to the point where they pay for themselves in a couple of years. After the first few years, the machine saves you money use after use.

The current reality is not only that inflation and rising costs have made doing business much more expensive, finding people to work has also become difficult. Investing in automation eliminates tedious data entry positions, which in turn cuts down on the number of people your company needs to employ.

 

Droughts and Heat
After a scorching month of August, it is finally looking like temperatures are settling down towards the end of next week. These historically high temperatures have caused severe nationwide droughts, hitting some regions like California, Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon especially hard. For example, Lake Mead Reservoir in Nevada is only 27% full, which is the lowest that has been recording since 1937. Currently 57.79% of the entire Pacific Northwest region is in drought. These droughts have been a driving force behind increasing farming related costs and loss of crop in these regions. Thankfully, many berry farmers in the Pacific Northwest and South still found success in their harvests despite the tough circumstances during this particularly dry summer.


Nurseries are Picking Up
As fall approaches, our nursery customers are beginning their yearly processes. 2nd Sight’s InstaCaliper tree measuring, counting and grading system helps nursery owners lower their average time for calipering a tree to only 3 seconds. 2nd Sight’s technology uses two break beam sensors to electronically measure the diameter of nursery trees by just passing our caliper head by a tree trunk.

Helping our customers speed up manual work such has hand calipering trees is imbedded in our company’s DNA. Please do not hesitate to reach out to a 2nd Sight representative regarding increasing field work speed and efficiency and regarding organizing your tree inventory record keeping processes. 

 

 


Fresh and Delicious
Last week, I was called to the small town of Burbank, Washington, to make some minor FairPick repairs. I couldn’t help but notice the varieties of crops around me; I knew one was blueberries.

Once I arrived at the customer site, I wandered into the customer’s blueberry packing facility where I could see workers sorting, organizing, and packaging the berries. Although the work was intriguing to watch, I realized that I had entered the customer site through the wrong door. Eventually, as I stumbled my way into the main office, I remember looking immediately to my right where I saw some of the most beautiful looking blueberries I’ve ever seen. I tried to not let them distract me. I had some repairs to take care of.

Luckily, after the repairs were done, I was handed a container of those blueberries. On my way home, I immediately dug into them. I have not had that many fresh blueberries in the past and was first awestruck by their size -- some were as big as a quarter. Although the berries’ size was impressive, the taste was out of this world. The nice snap of the skin leading to a soft, sweet, and slightly tart interior was exactly what I craved on such a hot summer day. I may need to do agricultural equipment repair full time.

 

Buckle Up for the Heat
We have been experiencing a late and abnormally mild summer (for the most part), but now we are in the midst of a serious heat wave. It’s hard to fathom that, here in the Pacific Northwest, we had a freeze as late as May and now have temperatures of over 110 degrees. If you must be outside or in places without air conditioning in this kind of heat, it is of the upmost importance to prepare.

You have heard it before, but it is crucial that you hydrate even when you do not feel thirsty, and you should keep an eye on your co-workers. Heat exhaustion or heat stroke are not pretty and can be fatal. Stay out of the sun, if you can, and wear a hat. It is also necessary to have access to clean drinking water during these times.

I don’t work outdoors, but I am camping outside this coming weekend in this oppressive heat. I have dug deep into every back road of my not-so-creative brain to find a solution that will allow me to sleep in this heat. You may see another product on the market if I figure out how to combat the heat effectively.


Diving Into New Markets
Although our software focuses on assisting agricultural businesses, we have an open mind about helping any business who may find our products useful.
One sector in which we have been developing multiple new contacts is the seafood industry, primarily business that harvest crustaceans.

The seafood and ag industries have a lot in common. They are both seasonal, and they both often pay some employees by piece or weight. These similarities immediately allowed us to understand the various tasks within the seafood industry and how we they can use 2nd Sight software can help them track employee piece wages just as ag does.

Discoveries like this make us ask: what are some other sectors that could benefit from our automation and labor tracking technologies, and more importantly, how can we reach them?

 

 

 


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