Bringing big data to traditional farming

Conservis paves the way to link tech and agriculture for the farmer

By Raha Khan

In the disconnect between agriculture and technology, you’ll find Conservis Corp.

“We want to help the business-oriented, progressive farmer, the one who’s concerned with where the world is going and is receptive to new ideas,” says Christopher Benyo, Minneapolis–based Conservis’s chief revenue officer.

Conservis is a software service provider that helps farmers keep track of their business, connect with larger market trends and keep up in a world where technological advancement is vital for business success. CEO Patrick Christie recognized the need for the service when speaking with farmers at a sustainability conference. 

“Pat realized that farming is the largest manufacturing sector that has not been automated,” Christopher says. “Farming is usually composed of small businesses, often family businesses, that don’t have IT departments and didn’t have reliable internet access until recently. They’ve been doing business the way their grandfathers did.”

But Conservis knows farmers know farming best. “Our job isn’t to tell them how to farm. They’re the experts on that,” Christopher explains. “We connect them to data that’ll help them on the business level and increase efficiency.”

The software also works to help navigate regulations that are currently more intense than ever. Farmers can connect to outside data or choose to share their own with partners, landowners, funders and insurance companies. Conservis has also earned the Ag Data Transparency Evaluator (ADTE) seal by demonstrating its commitment to data privacy and security to ensure that farmers own and are in control of their process. 

Conservis covers farms from California to Russia and is still expanding. Though many of the company’s clients are larger farms, it also encourages small farmers to use the software and gain efficiency now, so it’s easier to handle in the long run as their business gains complexity.

“It’s interesting because we’re in a time where consumers want to know more about their food, yet are most disconnected from where it comes from,” says Christopher. “We want to bring the two worlds together.”