Farming by the foot

Today, using a computer is nothing special. Nearly every electronic device can be classifi­ed as a computer—PCs, laptops, tablets. You name it. Even our watches and books are now computerized.

For New Sharon farmer Jerry Fynaardt, using computerized technology as a best business practice is also nothing new … but it is special!

Jerry has been using Precision Ag technology since the early nineties, which means he is known as an “early adopter” by the Agronomy and Precision Ag team at Key Cooperative. When he invested in one of the ­first Ag Leader® yield monitors, Jerry knew there were additional tools out there that could benefi­t his operation. “Precision technology is all about making you more efficient,” said Jerry. “I have always been one to seek out new technology and see if it made sense for what I was trying to accomplish.”

Now making all the decisions for the family farm—purchased by his grandfather for around $200 per acre in the early forties—Jerry knows that when he has to do more with less people, he must rely on technology for help. “I turned to my Agronomist as a trusted advisor, but then I found CENTROL,” said Jerry. “That’s when I really started looking at how technology and my data relate.”

CENTROL Precision Ag was established as a division of Key Cooperative in 1988. It now includes a team of four Agronomists dedicated to Precision Ag technology. The go-to guy you’ll ­find regularly at Jerry’s farm is Precision Ag Specialist Jared Tokle. “Compared to our competitors, CENTROL offers a unique service to growers,” said Jared.

“Sure, we can get someone the equipment, but it’s all about delivering, reviewing and analyzing data that helps them make decisions and be more efficient within their operation. Ultimately, it’s farming by the foot.”

Innovation means more to Jerry than just equipment installed on his machines. There’s also a component of research and education. For years, Jerry has partnered with Key on trials; this year he’s recording three with his Agronomy/CENTROL team. “Jerry records trials in multiple ways,” said Jared. “This is invaluable information to us, but then he allows us to show and share our fi­ndings with others.”

Jerry’s drive for knowledge and gift for sharing his passion for agriculture are apparent. He’s welcomed his son, Alex, into the farming operation and encourages all next generation growers to be progressive with their practices. “Start with your Agronomist and with CENTROL. Be willing to give them insight into your operation,” said Jerry.

“The only way I operate well is by sharing my information with someone I trust.”

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