COLORADO ENTREPRENEUR GIVES CHRISTMAS GIFT TO FARMERS AROUND THE WORLD
START-UP COMPANY WILL MAKE ITS NEW STATE-OF-THE-ART CROP PLANNING TOOL FREELY AVAILABLE TO
FARMERS ACROSS U.S. AND INTERNATIONALLY
This time of year many farmers wrestle with the decision of how many acres of each crop to
– the most fundamental decision in the most fundamental industry. For many farmers every year
it's literally "bet the farm". It's a complex decision with lots of variables and dependencies.
To assist farmers, Planting Profits, a Colorado "ag-tech" start-up, is introducing a new and
powerful on-line crop planning tool. The Company will make its tool available to farmers for
free early next year.
For Gary Schneider, founder and president, it's been a lifelong journey down a winding road
filled with mild successes, detours and disappointments, fueled by persistence and boundless
The arc of Mr. Schneider's life work springs from a boy walking the fields with his Grandad
asking questions about farming. Years down the road at the University of Arizona in an applied
math class, Schneider's inquisitiveness led to a breakthrough, one of those "ah ha" moments of
inspiration. Inspiration was followed by perspiration – "all nighters" developing optimization
algorithms and business plans while at MIT. As an engineer and entrepreneur, Mr. Schneider moved
his invention from conception to application to commercialization. He raised a little start-up
capital, cashed out his IRA and in 1997 his planning tool launched as a shrink wrapped piece of
desktop software. Back then software distribution was via FedEx. He sold about 100 copies in the
first two months. It was immediately recognized as one of the most important innovations in
agriculture by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. But in reaching for his dreams
Schneider had mortgaged his house and his career and it was still a steep climb with lots of
risk. He had reached a fork in the road. Unsure of whether he was on the threshold of success or
failure, he sold out to a large ag company, buying their promise to take his desktop software to
the web and to the World. Schneider saw this as the surest way to get his life's work into the
hands of as many farmers, and do as much good, as quickly as possible. But his dream hit the
skids and ran into the ditch. His invention got parked in the corporate labyrinth then lost. "I
made a little bit of money, but it in terms of dreams fulfilled, it was a bad decision – a
complete crash and burn", says Schneider.
Mr. Schneider laments, "Although it's impossible to prove, over the past 20 years that this tool
was not available, I believe that collectively, U.S. farmers have lost tens of billions of
dollars in unrealized income and unnecessary risk exposure. It is that powerful."
In the midst of a successful career managing large systems deployments, Mr. Schneider did some
research and decided to rebuild the software into a web application on his own dime and give it
away to farmers. For almost two years Schneider, his partner and a small team of developers have
been busy. Now the software is in the final stages of testing, and will be released within the
next couple of weeks.
"For many farmers it will change the way they plan. This tool can save valuable time in planning
and help farmers make more money while better managing production and market risks. The software
does this by using advanced mathematical algorithms to unscramble key planning variables and
dependencies. It quickly analyzes all crop/field/acreage combinations and pinpoints the one that
maximizes profitability. For example, a farm that has seven fields and several crops under
consideration could have tens of thousands of crop/field combinations even allowing for
rotations and some other restrictions. There's simply no way anyone is going to figure out the
most profitable combination of crops/field/acres without using these techniques. Big companies
learned this fifty years ago". Schneider continues, "My goal has always been to take these very
powerful applied mathematics capabilities down to the farm."
Schneider says the only data needed to run his software are price and yield forecasts, production
costs and some basic field information. The rest are what Schneider calls "management decision
levers". That is, decisions under a farmer's control. The software does not upend what the
farmer is planning to plant. Rather it suggests changes at the margins, but the results can
easily be a 10 - 20% boost in profitability after only about an hour of use. It can also show
farmers ways to use the least amount of working capital or water or any other critical
Schneider has big plans for product enhancements. "The current version of our software is really
for farmers who have several choices in their crop mix and some flexibility in their rotations.
But we are working on a next gen version that will focus more on risk management to assist
farmers who only have a couple of crop choices and whose focus may be more on risk management.
We also are looking for partners who can help with translations and country-specific
Schneider says that for farmers who would like to benefit from the software but want someone to
work with, the Company is setting up an Internet consulting service. Farmers will be able to go
to the Company's website and schedule an appointment and receive assistance on-line.
The Company will also begin training ag retailers, agronomists, crop insurance agents and
marketing advisors to use the tool to help their farmer clients. Schneider notes, "Once a grower
decides how many acres of each crop to plant, many purchasing decisions and selling decisions
follow. So providing a production planning service complements these guys' core business, keeps
it local, and leverages their relationships with farmers."
Schneider says of the Company's business model, "Through their efforts, farmers support countless
businesses. Our software supports farmers. So we are hoping to find national, regional and local
sponsors who will help us keep the software free for farmers in the U.S. and around the world."
The website also has a spot to take donations from users.
Schneider wraps his gift with this bow, "I want my legacy to be helping farmers and furthering
agriculture. Farmers and agriculture still underpin our economy. Farmers, like my Grandad, are
our unsung heroes. Merry Christmas!"
For more information contact
Gary Schneider @ 970.420.1656 or
JUST IN TIME FOR FINAL 2018 PLANTING DECISIONS...
INNOVATIVE ON-LINE PRODUCTION PLANNING TOOL AND PROFESSIONAL SERVICE FREE TO GROWERS IN EXCHANGE FOR FEEDBACK.
Just in time for final 2018 planting decisions, Planting Profits® is looking for a handful of progressive, diversified growers to pilot a new on-line production planning tool.
For the pilot, a trained consultant will work one-on-one on-line to help evaluate all possible combinations of crops/fields/acreage. Growers who are still working on 2018 plans,
or who want to take a last look at their 2018 crop mix, may be interested in participating. Participation is free.
It requires approximately two hours and your involvement will benefit the agricultural community by helping Planting Profits® refine its software and service model for rollout later this year.
Participants in the pilot will receive an individual introduction to a powerful new tool to add to their management toolbox.
When launched, Planting Profits® will be free for growers.
When it comes to planning, how do you know that you've covered all the bases?
That all your choices have been evaluated?
Right now, there is a lot of stress and anxiety given crop prices. There is uncertainty in many areas. The cost of being late is high.
The cost of being wrong is real. Gary Schneider, founder of Planting Profits®, says, "Our planning tool helps growers save time in planning,
make more money, and helps manage production and market risks. In seconds, it finds the most profitable combination of crops/fields/acreage under consideration based on preferences,
objectives and limitations. All that's needed is some basic information like production costs, price and yield forecasts, and field information.
During the pilot, we will work with participating growers over the Internet to generate a 2018 production plan.
The plan shows the most profitable combinations of crops/fields/acres based on the operation and management decisions.
It shows how various crop mixes compare in terms of profitability, risk and asset utilization.
The tool does not upend a grower's intentions, but rather shows how potential changes at the margins in one or more factors can boost profitability 10 - 30%.
Other insights include: how to optimize working capital, labor, water, equipment, or any other critical input or constraint while maximizing income. All this in about an hour.
That's a high ROI compared with other ag-tech investments." Schneider continues, "Our production planning tool provides the greatest benefit where there are several crop choices and some
flexibility in rotations. Many of these growers may have more crop/field/acreage choices than they can reasonably evaluate.
Consider this, a farm with six fields and two crop choices for each field, like corn-corn vs. corn-beans, has 64 crop/field combinations.
Add another crop, say wheat or cotton and a couple more fields, and you can be up to 6,000 crop/field combinations! As the number of crops or fields increase,
the number of possible combinations increase geometrically. And this does not even account for diversification goals, forward sales, agronomic considerations,
and a host of other factors that create further choices and considerations." Schneider says he often asks growers where they find time to evaluate all of this and how they keep it straight.
The answers vary... Schneider continues, "There's no need to punt. The stakes are too high. Planting Profits® can help.
It figures out in seconds what otherwise could take hours or days to work through tinkering with a spreadsheet or other software."
Schneider concludes, "The purpose of the pilot is to work with a small group of growers at the end of the 2018 planning window, get their input,
and refine our tool and service. If you're interested in helping, please contact us ASAP. If you know someone who might be interested, please pass this along.
The planning window closes quickly especially in the southern states and we can only work with a limited number of growers."
Later this year growers will be able to go to the Planting Profits® website and use the planning tool for free.
Growers will also be able to schedule an appointment via the website and get personal assistance on-line.
To learn more about participating in the free production planning pilot, please visit the Planting Profits® website, or email