AGTools showcases content management data solutions for agriculture at Forbes AgTech
By Jan Janes
Special to Santa Cruz Tech Beat
June 30, 2019 — Salinas, CA
Every fruit and vegetable is now produced everywhere in the world, increasing global competition.
(Photo above: Paola Ochoa, Logistics and Analytics and Martha Montoya, President of AGTools. Credit: Jan Janes Media)
At the recent Forbes AgTech Conference in Salinas, AGTools rolled out its SaaS dashboard for growers, shippers and retail buyers covering more than 530 commodities of fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs and ornamentals. A member of Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology member in Salinas, the company has additional offices in Orange, Los Angeles, Seattle, Piscataway and Mexico.
“Farmers are under the Department of Agriculture,” said AGTools President Martha Montoya, “But they should also be under the Department of Commerce.” Farmers aren’t primarily viewed as business people, but they need to know the markets.
“We all make a lot of plans,” she said, “But when it comes down to a particular day, you may have a strike, a storm moves in, or changes happen in the exchange rate.” Montoya, leading a woman-owned and woman-funded business, has more than 25 years working in agriculture data collection. She also serves as an advisor to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture.
What began as a daily report is now, with AGTools, a subscription-based dashboard offering multiple key fields and four variables per field. AGTools allows growers, shippers and retailers to enter the variables for their products, gain a clear view of market behavior and adjust plans according to global data.
Users can select real time and historical data covering 25 years across the categories of
• Historical data
• Origin and destination weather, previous day and forecast
• Competing locations where the same crops are grown
• Shipping, terminal and retail prices
• Diesel and gasoline pricing
• Freight costs
• Exchange rates
• Import and export rates
• Product being shipped, both in volume and in financial value
• Holidays by country
• Payroll by country
“For two years, there’s been a conversation about tariffs on apples in India,” said Montoya. “What had been talk is now being applied in the next two weeks.” Growers risk getting caught short not knowing about the tariffs or all the ways their products will be affected.
“The growers’ front end investment has already been made,” she said, including which crops to plant, how much acreage to use, when to plant and when to harvest. In the past she had to research the data from government records, think tanks, universities, industry associations and research institutes.
AGTools now digitally gathers the data and makes it available to growers, shippers and buyers. “The algorithms make the data simple and understandable,” said Montoya. “With 25 million points of data, to make the best decision they might only need one.”
Jan Janes, Communications Director, Web Publisher, Television & Radio Producer, Photojournalist, Social Media Architect, can be reached on LinkedIn.