Tech guru pioneers farming software
More than 15,000km separates remote South Australian pastoral lease Wirrealpa Station and the hustle and bustle of London’s busy streets.
However, it was at the England capital, far from the serenity of the South Australia’s pastoral lands, where John Fargher was inspired to create farm-management software that he believed could revolutionise farming.
The former lawyer-turned- tech-guru, who was raised at the family-operated station in northern South Australia, abandoned his legal career in pursuit of a farm-management solution.
Mr Fargher, with new acquaintances Kevin Baum and Justin Webb, took a leap of faith to launch AgriWebb in 2013.
The decision started a six-year journey for the trio, which developed the platform into a global instrument used by farmers in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Europe.
The AgriWebb platform, now used by more than 2400 farmers in Australia, records stock movement and paddock sprays, with or without internet connection.
It also generates reports and auditing requirements to aid farmers in performance-based on-farm decisions.
At WAFarmers’ TrendingAg conference in Perth last month, Mr Fargher encouraged delegates to invest in start-up agriculture companies to aid the industry’s technological progression.
“If we don’t follow trends to innovate, we will be left behind,” he said.
“We have the tools to do it, we have the people to do it, we just need to do something about it.”
Mr Fargher said the data-driven software increased productivity by simplifying on-farm record keeping.
“It is crazy that we are running sophisticated businesses, that require enormous amounts of risk management, and we write notes on (paper),” he said.
“It doesn’t have to be like that, because now everyone has a mobile phone.”
“So, how to we get from the pencil and paper to a tool that actually covers our whole business? That’s what we have set out to achieve.”
UK-based agriculture investment firm Wheatsheaf Group completed a $14 million deal to secure a minority stake in AgriWebb last August.
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