With the recent acquisition of Veritas Farm Management, the data analytics arm of South West Ag Partners Inc, Deveron UAS – a Canadian agricultural drone service company – is becoming an ever-larger player in the North American agronomic services market.
Spokespeople are positioning the company as an independent source of practical farm insights. The acquisition decision, they add, was driven by a belief that farm digitization and the value of data-based decision making will continue trending upwards.
According to David MacMillan, president and chief executive officer for Deveron, the acquisition – as well as a recently announced partnership with A & L Laboratories in London – is designed to facilitate the creation of an independent data services network that provides practical business decision support to farmers across North America.
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Deveron UAS and @MyVeritas_HQ will bring an aggregate analytics provider for growers across North America. Deveron UAS is excited to welcome the Veritas team into the Deveron family.
Press Release: https://t.co/Z90od7Xaxo pic.twitter.com/NRPwhmCBTX
— Deveron (@DeveronUAS) 18 September 2018
“We’re excited to start building platforms where farmers from anywhere can transfer data to Veritas for analytics”, he says. “We had lots of customers coming to us directly for agronomic help.”
MacMillan adds his company’s network of drone operators was already driving significant business to Veritas’s analytical services. Incorporating it as a division within Deveron, he says, allows for more efficient and trustworthy agronomic insights.
We are not going to make money on anything but the insights we provide
“Deveron and Veritas are independent from input sales […] We want to take data and help people make money from it; you can see that in our business model”, says MacMillan. “We are not going to make money on anything but the insights we provide.”
The Veritas acquisition was also driven by visions of an ever-more digitized agricultural landscape. While MacMillan reiterates that he does not think drones and data technologies are going to “save the world”, he does say the number of producers turning to and finding real value in those technologies continues to increase. He anticipates that a majority of farmers will be using data-technologies to improve operational efficiency by 2025.
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MacMillan says they currently operate on a business model where “farmers own the data”. However, his company does have the ability to collectively pool farm data. This, he says, is not intended to have a malicious air. “There is substantial opportunity to further improve the practical, money-saving impacts data can have at the farm level, but those improvements depend on using aggregated data to develop and improve agronomic tools – while better communicating can drive return on investment.”
The individual nature of farms is a really important thing to remember
Overall, MacMillan says Deveron’s main goal is to build products that allow farmers to make more informed decisions – particularly when it comes to high-cost input decisions – based on more fact and less feel.
“The whole Silicon Valley type of involvement (in agricultural data technologies) is fine, but it’s easy to program a computer to do anything and get away from the field”, says MacMillan. “The individual nature of farms is a really important thing to remember. There’s lots of opportunity.”