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AgriSync offers farmers customer support from anywhere

AgriSync Agriculture Software Technology

Emerging technology is helping farmers diagnose problems on their farm faster.

AgriSync—a Waukee based software company—developed an app that connects farmers with their ag experts and specialists using a smart phone or tablet with video conferencing. If a farmer has to troubleshoot a monitor or diagnosis a disease in a plant, farmers can open the app and choose from a menu of advisors who they can connect with.

“We allow those ag experts to deliver customer service in real time to those farmers,” AgriSync founder Casey Niemann says.

The app is free for the farmer and gives them one-touch access to his advisor from the local co-op, John Deere dealer or precision ag specialist.

And farmers no longer have to wait hours or days for them to come out to the farm.

Niemann says the current communication processes between farmers and ag advisors is is pretty, “Archaic.”

“The advisor can now see that issue in real time and typically solve it remotely,” Niemann explains. “Farmers want service right away, so what we do is we allow those ag experts to deliver customer service in real-time to the farmers.”

Niemann says that the focus of AgriSync is on non-tool-box issues and each interaction is recorded for time and quality.

“For that advisor company, their most expensive resource is their people,” Niemann says. “So we give them the ability to track the time of their people and make sure from a customer service standpoint, things are getting done.”

Casey Niemann explains how AgriSync works.

Technology from the future is here

As a kid Niemann grew up on a farm in Kansas and would grow up to work for Microsoft for 14 years.  During his career he kept an eye on the technology in the agriculture industry. He noticed it was developing.

But he also saw a need.

“Support and service was going to be a challenge because there’s a lot of hand holding that needs to occur for adoption of these new technologies,” Niemann said. “I had a good mentor who kept going back to this area of support and communication. And how critical it was to building a trusted relationship.”

After leaving Microsoft, version 1.0 of AgriSync was launched in January of 2016; AgriSync 2.0 was launched in May of 2017.

Niemann says AgriSync now has six full-time employees and over 100 companies signed up in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“A lot of companies will embed us into their own locally branded offering,” Niemann says. “They may be helping a farmer with equipment, data, lots of things. It’s a great way for them to talk about their service plan.”

AgriSync offers farmers customer support from anywhere | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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