People are encouraged to vote for a producer until the end of the month
By Diego Flammini
More than 100 farmers across 30 U.S. states are hopeful they’ll receive a grant from a national produce distributor.
The farmers are part of PRO*ACT’s Cultivating Change contest. (PRO*ACT is a fresh food supply chain management network.) Each producer has outlined what he or she plans to do with the winnings and how it can help his or her farm.
In Texas, one family farm would use the grant to purchase a much-needed refrigerated delivery truck.
Reeves Family Farm in Princeton produces 45 acres of okra, squash, cucumbers and other vegetables.
Most of the crop is destined for farmers markets, grocery stores and storage facilities. The Reeves family puts about 30,000 miles on its truck per growing season and Aaron Reeves doesn’t think the old truck will make it through the season.
“We ship out two-to-three loads per day and we simply need a refrigerated truck,” Reeves told Farms.com today. “We had an older truck but we’ve put about $8,000 into it. It’s just done and is time for a new one.”
Another Texas farm family would use its winnings to further develop a mobile farm organization platform.
Pedro Schambon co-owns My Father’s Farm in Seguin along with his wife Dayana. The 52-acre USDA-certified organic farm produces herbs and vegetables, including parsley, cucumbers, radishes and rosemary.
Schambon developed PRO-FARM Software, a daily management tool to keep farms running smoothly.
“PRO-FARM can predict planting dates, yields and estimated maturity dates of different crops, keep maintenance equipment logs, create invoices, and generate multiple sales and inventory reports,” Schambon told Farms.com. “The software is truly a farmer-to-farmer project and is intended to reduce paperwork and help farmers get organized.”
Employers can even use the software to send individualized work orders to their employees’ mobile devices. This communication allows workers to understand their daily tasks and helps the farm operate more efficiently, Schambon said.
The PRO-FARM software can also help streamline traceability audits.
The USDA audits Schambon’s farm each year for good agricultural and handling practices.
An auditor can ask to see details on a specific crop and the software can provide an extensive report of all the crop activity.
“The software will list everything that happened in that field for (at least) the last year,” he said. “You can look at the inputs, who applied them, when the field was harvested and even the seed number from the laboratory.”
Many other farmers are also hoping to win part of the Cultivating Change grant from PRO*ACT.
Readers are encouraged to visit the contest website to vote for their favorite farm or project. Voting is open until Jan. 31 and the winners will be revealed on Feb. 5.