Field notes
Recording data the old fashion way. The front of your pickup truck becomes your storage device for all of your data. Courtesy Photo

OTTAWA – When farming was first practiced by our early hunter/gatherer ancestors, the activity was pretty straightforward; if something was going to eat you, you would run away and if you planted a crop you had to hope those seeds would find a way to grow. There was little or no control over ancient farming strategies.

Eventually over 1,000 years or more, farming evolved into a way of life, and business as complex as anything else in the 21st century.

From keeping track of farming strategies and outcomes to calculating financial consequences of every action, there is a lot to consider.

Invest Ottawa hosted a Zoom webinar on Tues., March 23 called: Uncovering your farm’s profitability featuring AgExpert accounting and field software.

AgExpert addresses the complexity of modern-day farm finances and farm strategies in the field.

The event was hosted by Laurier Poirier of AgExpert and included a presentation by Linda Vogel of Linda’s Bookkeeping. Her business deals with many in the agricultural industry.

Technology makes all of the difference. AgExpert software uses a farmer’s own data, whether it be financial, or crop related and arranges it in a way that is secure, available and easy to understand.

Imagine being able to transmit all of your financial farm data to your accountant allowing them to be able to grasp your entire financial picture at once.

Imagine taking a whole years of farm financials written on paper and sitting in a shoebox and then dumped over your accountants desk for sorting.

You can enter all of the data into AgExpert concerning your fieldwork and get an immediate picture of how you are doing before, during and after that growing season has passed.

“It truly is a great tool for your business,” said Poirier.

Gone are the days when you can go to your accountant with a box full of receipts and ask how did I do last year?

“My husband and I own a hog/cash crop operation in Apple Hill between Ottawa and Cornwall,” said Vogel.

She remembered when her and her husband were younger and just starting out how they thought they would quickly be able to get all the aspects of their operation under control.

“That does not always happen. Life throws you curve balls,” she said.

Along the way she became interested in the bookkeeping side of the operation and decided to go back to college to get her bookkeeping credentials. Along with farming she added a bookkeeping business to her list of careers.

“I am certified on all of the various software including the AgExpert. We are not stuck offering just one service to our customers. It’s what serves their business first,” she said.

Online accounting has made a tremendous difference to her bookkeeping business and to her clients.

“The online software has become a large part of our business. Because we farm as well, we do not always get answers during the day. If you have a question that is keeping you up at night, with the online software, we can get you answers anytime.”

“We are finding more and more that the profit margin is smaller in farm operations, generally speaking, so it is really important that you know your numbers; that you are able to work directly with your bookkeeper or accountant. Make sure you have that data in there and that whoever you are working with has the same vision that you have,” explained Vogel.

She said if you do not always understand all the ins and outs of your financial situation, the online service makes a difference.

Poirier explained that all data is important. “The buzzword we keep hearing about is data. From weather data to yield data to accounting data. All data is super important.”

He said that collecting your data and understanding it gives a great perspective about where you have been, where you are, and where you are going.

Whether it is a dairy farm or crops, the software can accommodate what you might want to do with the data you have to put into it.

Cave drawings from the distant past illustrated how information about hunting, how, where and when to hunt, was designed to help the next generation of hunters.

In the same fashion farmers have to be able to track their success and failures and pass on solutions to their next generation of farmers.

AgExpert captures all that data for you. “Capturing your data, capturing your field notes and financial data is important,” said Poirier. He explained even on his own farm there is a drawer filled with books containing field notes, but data is only as useful as you make it. The data sitting in a drawer in handwritten notes does very little to help plan for next year.

“It’s not very useful in helping you unlock the potential for your farm.”

He remembers growing up how his parents would write down notes on paper stuck to the fridge for important dates. His family life became so busy his wife started using a Google calendar to keep track of events and appointments.

“It became a super useful tool.”

AgExpert is like that. “AgExpert has been a key to my success on the farm,” he said.

“A farm generates tons of data. Each of our tractors is generating data.”

There are two AgExpert softwares, one is for financials and the other for fieldwork.

The software can be a free download if you want or you can become an AgExpert member for a fee. The free download is the same as the purchased one except for some special features.

For more information please contact Ag Expert at: FCC AgExpert Customer Care, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. eastern time. Call 1-800-667-7893 (toll-free) or send us an email at