Our series began with a look at women in agriculture as we introduced our CEO and Co-founder Deb Casurella. Then, we dug into life on the farm as we spotlighted Jeremy Wilson, our Project Manager and Co-Founder and Rex Garthaus, our Field Technology Analyst.
Continuing with the technology side of the business we started with Ken Ullsperger, our Chief Technology Officer, we’ll get some insight from Jason Smith, our head of Operations and Product Management.
Jason recently transitioned from Development Lead to this newly created position. He’ll be responsible for delivering great products, ensuring customers have a great post-sales implementation experience and providing exceptional services as customers use our SaaS solutions.
Much like what we did with the others, we sat down with Jason and harvested some answers about his experience with the technology of agriculture.
What made you want to work in the agriculture industry?
Most of the places I have worked at were for large companies that were well into the use of technology. Often times more development time was spent updating outdated processes, code, and technology than was devoted to new solutions. MyAgData gave me an opportunity to work in an industry that is looking for plenty of new solutions to age-old issues.
Have you faced any challenges in the ag industry? How did you overcome them?
There is a lot of new technology being used and introduced into the ag industry. Far more than I ever thought. Learning what technology exists, what direction its going, and working with others trying to understand the same thing requires a lot of time and effort. The biggest piece—and this is the case in almost every industry—is bridging the gap between technology-oriented people and business-oriented people.
What accomplishment are you most proud of on your resume?
Connecting to the above question, I have no single “great accomplishment” but I’ve found over the years that my ability to understand technology as well as the needs of the business has enabled me to communicate with people outside of technology and be directly involved in delivering a technology-based solution.
Why do you believe it’s important to simplify the acreage reporting process for everybody?
Technology has made many things in our life easier. I no longer need a CPA because I can use TurboTax, I no longer need a map or directions because I have GPS, I no longer have to visit a government office to register my car, pay taxes, or check the status of a building permit. Why shouldn’t the farming industry have the same conveniences? Farming is hard work and I respect that. It just makes sense to use technology to make the agricultural industry run smoother as well.
What do you think sets MyAgData apart from other ag data companies?
We are willing to take the difficult steps that others aren’t, like working with the government even when we know it will make things easier for our competitors and the farming industry as a whole. We’re willing to take the producer’s perspective of their farm from shapes and field names to the raw data and numbers the government wants. MyAgData is a small company with a small team and we take on tasks that companies with larger teams and more money would rather not do.
Do you have a favorite quote or philosophy on life?
“Do what I do: Hold tight and pretend it’s a plan!” — The Doctor
If you could change something in the ag industry, what would it be and why?
More standardization across data. Willingness to adopt technology and use the technology currently available.