Abby Majerus lives on and ranches the land where she grew up, just outside the small city of Roundup, near the heart of Montana. The Majerus Ranch, established in 1951, grows hard red winter wheat, hard red spring wheat, feed barley, and hay. In addition to growing crops, the Majerus Ranch also raises and sells beef cattle.
Almost a decade ago, Abby came back to the family ranch to help her father for what she thought would be a short period of time. 10 years later, her resurrected love for agriculture has now grown into her full-time career and passion. In the beginning, she was relying on her father to understand the operation, and asking questions to collect historical methods and results. Abby soon realized she needed a centralized, accessible location for the farm’s grain information.
We sat down and chatted with Abby about her transition to agriculture and her experience moving to Farm At Hand’s farm management solution:
How did you hear about Farm At Hand?
I do a lot of research when I download an app. I like to look at all of the similar apps just to see, but my guess is I either heard about it on a podcast or I read about it in one of the tech sections of one of the magazines that I get.
What was used on your operation previous to using Farm At Hand?
It was all in [my Dad’s] head or on a scrap of paper, the back of a receipt that was in the tractor… that sort of thing. Not very strategic!
What are the primary benefits that you’ve realized through Farm At Hand?
I like the visual; being able to see what has been planted in as winter wheat, what’s been planted into spring wheat and what’s to follow. So that in my mind, I can think a couple years’ out. And then the inventory of our grain – where everything’s been stored – it’s always top of mind for me at Harvest. We raise cattle as well, so as February rolls around my mind has switched over and at that point, trying to remember what bin has spring wheat and where we need it, how much we need to pull to complete a contract… being able to just go back to this and think “okay, yeah, there’s 800 bushel in that bin.” That’s been the biggest thing for sure.
Are there any particular scenarios that you can think of prior to Farm At Hand when you were in a situation where you needed to understand what was in your bins?
I would say the first two years that I was [back on the farm], I wasn’t trying to understand stuff. I understand it on a general level having been raised on a farm and a ranch, but I was not planning on staying. And then something switched and I got very interested in it. That’s about the time that I was seeing Dad’s processes, watching him – who had done it by himself for so long. Any record keeping he needed to do, he could just do it in his head because he was the only one that had to access it. Trying to share information and better understand what he was doing and what needed to be done is why I started to seek out tech. Something that we could both use for record keeping where I wasn’t constantly having to go to him to ask questions or make him remember something on the spot. We needed a centralized place where I could reference stuff without having to go to him all the time. I was trying to find the equivalent of [our livestock software] for our farming side. It was the ease of being able to find information, whether I put it in or he puts it in, without having to track him down and quiz him every morning.
How has your operation improved since moving to Farm At Hand?
You know, I don’t think that we have enough data at this point to say that we are making big decisions based on it. I would have loved for someone prior to me to have kept, you know, 20 years of records the way that I am so that I would have some data to start to use. I see some huge benefits for me in 10 years when I can go back and say, “this is what was on here in 2019, 2020, 2021.” Then I can make a decision of what should come back out into the crop and what would stay in pasture.
Which Farm At Hand features do you use during harvest?
Truckloads into the bins. I like to see the yield get higher as you input truckloads. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to be the case this year, but the inventory is definitely a big one along with the progress bar. You’re able to see the crops in the different fields being harvested.
How do you manage your inventory with Farm At Hand?
We track bins to give us a good idea of where we stand. Usually we end up selling crops for delivery at about the same time that we’re calving, so being able to take a quick glance and not have to do a whole bunch of math to know where we stand as far as inventory is beneficial. We can start marketing and not have to spend a whole lot of time on it.
What’s one of your favorite moments when you’re out in the fields?
I live up on the top of a hill. My parent’s ranch is down on a river bottom, and then between my place and theirs is where all of our land is. The wind blows up here, but the sunsets are freaking amazing! And that’s probably the one thing that makes it all worth it – even on days when the wind’s howling – the sunsets are so great. I can see five mountain ranges from my house. It is looking out at your land and having that pride. There’s only something like 2% of us in the U.S. that are producing food and it’s slowly getting smaller. So the fact that I’m still on the land, doing the hard work to try and produce quality food for people. I think that’s where the pride comes from better food outcomes.”
Stay tuned to learn more about how Abby from the Majerus Ranch uses Farm At Hand to simplify her operation and make decisions easier!
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