How does Matt Waits manage over 100 million acres of farmland? He holds them in the palm of his hand. His company’s iOS app, known as Sirrus, is used by agronomists and farmers to manage data and recommend pesticide, fertilizer, and seed varieties. Matt Waits is the CEO of SST Software, an agriculture information management company headquartered in Stillwater, Oklahoma with overseas offices in Australia, Brazil, and South Africa.
Founded in 1994, SST (Site-Specific Technology) Software continues to be a pioneer in precision agriculture. “The big data opportunity is huge and hasn’t yet been fully capitalized on in this industry,” says CEO Waits. “We want to get to the point where we can help farmers make more informed decisions based off an aggregation of many farmers’ data.”
While data is used anonymously, the potential impact is huge. “Farmers can equip their combines with GPS that will collect their yield data during every second of harvesting. That information can be brought in to determine performance of things like seeds and pesticides.”
Let’s say that GPS-equipped combine works a farm in Kansas. “We can find all the fields in that state that are like that one, based on things like soil types, elevation, slope, and organic matter,” says Waits. “Then we can say, ‘These are the seed varieties that grow best, these are the tillage practices that seem to work best, and so on.’”
“The more data that’s collected over time,” he says, “the more informed the decisions will be.”
And there is no end to the data to be collected. Hundreds of variables impact over a hundred different crops in over 100 million acres of farmland, but SST Software is still committed to making sense of the numbers for the individual farmer supporting his family and his community in towns all across America. “The majority of our work is in corn, soybeans, and wheat,” says the SST CEO. “Those are the big crops in the US markets.”
Those are also the crops Matt Waits sees as he flies his Beechcraft® Bonanza® around the country. “When I’m in the air, what I notice is all the variability across fields,” he says. “Throughout history, most of the time people have managed a field as if it’s uniform; there’s a lot of that that still goes on.”
“But our technology helps farmers manage the variable nature that’s truly out there. It helps them manage outputs for environmental reasons so they’re not spraying around waterways. They can apply less fertilizer on lower producing areas and more fertilizer in highly producing areas.”
“What it comes down to is this: We can tell farmers that on fields like this, in your region, these are practices that provide the most return.”
Please join us April 12th for the
Speaker Series Luncheon at the
OU PHF Conference Center.
Agric-Bioformatics LLC is an Oklahoma City-based biotechnology company that is revolutionizing the cattle industry. Agric-Bioformatics has developed a next-generation management software for analysis, interpretation, and visualization of genetic data in order to improve production and performance of livestock.
Agric-Bioformatics’ first product, AgBoostTM, integrates inventory, herd management and genomic profiling on one software platform for the cattle industry. We aim to provide cattle producers an affordable and easy-to-use tool that allows better access to, and understanding of, genomic and physical data. AgBoostTM is designed to allow producers to become more sustainable, improve animal welfare, and produce quality meat.
The AgBoostTM platform is currently in closed beta testing with individual cattle producers across the U.S. and has completed a successful pilot project with the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation. Agric-Bioformatics plans to release their minimal viable product to the market in Summer 2017.
Sean Akadiri is the President and CEO Agric-Bioformatics, and an entrepreneur passionate about using bioinformatics and genetics to improve the performance and productivity of livestock farming. He received Bachelor degrees’ in Biology, and Chemistry from East Central University and earned his MBA from Mid-American Christian University.
Sean has over 10 years’ experience in the biotech and life science industries and he is on the Advisory Board for the Moore Norman Technology Center’s Biotechnology Program. Sean and his team have developed the Next-Generation Livestock Management Platform, and his goal is to help every livestock producers to become more sustainable, improve animal welfare, and produce quality meat.
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Economic Impact event date and location has been changed. The CAEI will be held on May 10th at the Oklahoma History Center.
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“I don’t know if I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I sure do now.”
We hear that over and over from the college and university students who participate in the Love’s Entrepreneur’s Cup, Oklahoma’s statewide collegiate business plan competition.
In this 13th year of the competition (formerly the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup), student teams from across the state have submitted a record 58 business plans in both High Growth and Small Business divisions.
Why is this milestone so important? Because we are building a pipeline of entrepreneurs and future employees who think entrepreneurially to be the engines of job and wealth creation across Oklahoma for years to come.
In the High Growth division, student entrepreneurs are tackling problems — both big and small — from around the world. Their plans address major health issues like a chewing gum that can provide early detection of the HIV, a solar generator, infrastructure for electric-powered buses, portable calving sheds for ranchers and high-impact absorbing materials used in safety equipment.
In the four years since the Small Business division was added, participation has grown from eight teams to 31. Entrepreneurial interest and inspiration are bubbling up from non-research campuses, two-year colleges and private regional universities — and the business plans we are seeing from these schools are phenomenal.
Imagine an antimicrobial rinse directed toward protecting against foodborne illnesses or an automated practice partner for hockey players. Student teams have written plans for a solution that eliminates the hassle of de-shedding a pet, solar-powered outdoor charging stations and affordable technology solutions for people with motor control and communication difficulties.
Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores became the Signature Sponsor of the competition last year. Love’s is all about entrepreneurship. A local family-owned and operated entrepreneurial company started in the 1960s as a true Oklahoma “mom and pop,” today Love’s employs 17,000 people with revenues of $14.2 billion. What an example for Oklahoma’s young entrepreneurs who are going to be in the position of shaking up industries and creating jobs.
Love’s is a great example for other local corporations and businesses to recognize the importance of this kind of opportunity for our state and to directly support the development of tomorrow’s talent, as are our longtime sponsors, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, the Oklahoma Business Roundtable, OG&E and IBM.
Each year this competition grows, which means more students just might be telling themselves and their advisers, “I don’t know if I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I do now.”
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state support from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology and is an integral part of Oklahoma’s Innovation Model. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.