I’ve done pretty well for myself farming in Indiana and a big part of the reason is having a hard-working agricultural supplier on your side: Precision Farming Solutions, Inc. (www.precisionfarmingsolutions.net) was always there for my farm.

So, when I received a message from the hard-working SD Healthy Families Campaign that they were in trouble, I had a pretty good idea how I could help. I’m going to tell you how an Indiana farmer and Indiana’s premier Ag supplier Precision Farming Solutions, Inc. saved the day on a plot of land a thousand miles away!

About three years ago, residents near the Black Hills of South Dakota decided to make a difference for their rural community and their families. A plot of 900 acres which had traditionally been used to raise corn became available at what seemed like a really good price.

You see, the SD Healthy Families Campaign was a consortium originally dedicated to buying locally grown and nutritious food for their families. Then, they got the bright idea of growing their own! They sought to have enough food for themselves and sell the surplus off to keep the endeavor funded.

It was a noble concept but there were certain conditions looming which set the stage for failure. For starters, these people didn’t really know too much about large scale farming. Preparing your land to yield successful crops is certainly one part of the equation and it takes the right equipment, the right farm hands along with the know-how to do it. Having your distribution plan, bringing your crop to market in a timely manner at the right price are all key items which will directly affect your success or failure.

Because of a paradigm shift in corn consumption, the industry had been experiencing some shaky times. Using the corn for food vs. sending it off for conversion to ethanol was certainly disrupting the profit margins. I looked at some of the Ag suppliers in the South Dakota region and just saw them as inferior to my guys at Precision Farming Solutions, Inc.

The SD Healthy Families Campaign was going to go down in flames if they couldn’t get a handle on controlling the aforementioned items. That would begin with analyzing just what they were doing wrong.

There were no better people for that then the experts at Precision Farming Solutions, Inc. So, in my capacity as a professional farming consultant and a potential investor, I packed my bags and took two of Precision Farming Solutions best men with me to the airport as the advance team. If I was going to invest in this consortium, I needed to know how likely it was that the failing operation could be turned around and how much it was going to cost to do so.

Three hours later we arrived at Rapid City Regional. We picked up our rental which was a Dodge Ram 4 x 4 and headed into town to check into our motel. I wanted a good night’s sleep before we began our survey.

At daybreak we headed out to see the operation. My men from w Precision Farming Solutions, Inc. wasted no time breaking out gear from their shipping crates. The word “Precision” in their name could not be overstated.

Within ten minutes, they had a drone in the air getting a high aerial view of the storage and processing area along with creating an inventory of equipment. The aerial maps from the pilot were Blu-toothed to his co-workers’ tablet where he was carefully logging inventory of all machinery and supplies.

Each tractor, each tiller, spreader, water tanker, fork-lift, the whole she-bang all placed in a nice inventory sheet accompanied with estimates of the fair market value. They photographed the all various stacks of fertilizer bags, seeds and mineral supplements. They reviewed the water and electric supplies. Then it was off to survey the land and take some soil samples.

Every few hundred feet, the men would grab a fresh soil sample and coordinate it with the map derived from the drone hovering high above and providing GPS coordinates. They also took samples of the vegetation where it grew and bagged it for examination.

“The digital overview of your property is already in the cloud and our guys are analyzing it right now!” “If we catch tonight’s flight out, you can probably have your completed report by tomorrow!”

These guys had never let me down before and they had my complete confidence. I got them to the airport with time to spare. By the time I got back to the motel and opened my laptop, pages of the report were already starting to come in. Oh yeah! Pages and pages!

Let the truth be known that I never commissioned such a comprehensive report like this before. The nice folks Precision Farming Solutions, Inc. had taken such good care of me all along that it wasn’t necessary. So, I combed over the very comprehensive preliminary material right up until bedtime. When I woke up, I had an email indicating that I could pick up the copies of the final report in town at the Office Depot. I wanted multiple hard copies for my meeting with the consortium. So I headed off for town.

Wow! That’s what I had to say. They must have stayed up all night back in Birdseye to evaluate those samples! Here it was, a report that looked at and averaged the crop yields good and bad over the last five years. There too was a correlate which showed the slump in Corn Futures which had been happening over the last four years.

They looked at the consortium’s machinery and calculated how many Hectares we could hope to turn out under ideal conditions. The soil was weak and would need supplemental nutrition to hit the mark and a new tractor was going to be mandatory if we were going to make the quota.

As it turns out, there was a careful balance that had to be achieved. Corn, grown a certain way for human consumption and delivered in a tight window, corn for feed consumption (South Dakota has a bigger livestock business than it does corn and they all need to eat) and finally, corn grown for ethanol production. Each aspect had it’s own special requirements.

Predictions were looking good for 2017 being the year that Corn Futures would be turning around. With all the help and knowledge about the environment I received from Precision Farming Solutions, Inc. I felt confident that I could drop a million bucks into this operation and come back with a tidy return. That my friends is how some Hoosiers saved the day in South Dakota!