In the past, a livestock farmer’s information system consisted of a ledger, pencil, and pocket notebook. While spreadsheets have displaced paper over time, they’re still far from the demands of modern farming.
Analyzing financial information, navigating government regulations, managing biosecurity requirements, and maintaining nutritional content — are some of the more complex aspects of raising commercial livestock in the 21st century.
Something more was needed to amalgamate all the various data into a reliable source, so MetaFarms came out ahead of the curve in 2001 to compile the mountains of ag-industry data available to livestock farmers. Their software plattform runs such coalesced data through analytical tools and presents it in a web-based format that farmers can use to make informed decisions faster, with less guesswork or margin for error.
Founded on the mind of Thomas Stein and the money of Tony Christianson, MetaFarms’ Chad Becker (left) entered the picture as CEO in 2012 after an “unsuccessful attempt at retirement.” A lifelong Minnesota farmer, Becker was with FICO for over 15 years and has put his big data analytics chops to further both the technology and the business model.
“The food supply chain subject to growing financial complexity and industry compliance,” he says. “We’ve really been able to adapt to the demands of the market, reaching 20% penetration, or 200+ swine farmers in North America who are using MetaFarms.” That traction has led to employment growth in Burnsville, now up to 17 employees.
Becker feels the next twenty years in agriculture are going to be the best for technology, modestly suggesting the biggest data opportunities have yet to come. “All species have the same struggles at the growing level, this is a huge pain point.”