Just like any other industry, agriculture is also an essential industry for both consumers and the economy. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the growth in agricultural productivity increased from the early 1980s till today and it is the single most important source of economic growth in the U.S. farm sector. However, due to the advancements in technology and production, agricultural organizations are experiencing growing pains internally, especially in establishing efficient document processing. The agriculture and farming industry deals with huge amounts of paperwork that should be compliant with animal health/welfare regulations and food legislation, and ensure safety in the food chain. These paper records need to be preserved for research purposes and better decision making. The ideal way to store this information is by scanning all paper-based records and converting them into digital format so that these can be stored safely for years. Partnering with a reliable provider of document scanning services is the best option for the agriculture and farming industry to scan all their records for easy access and retrieval whenever needed.
Different Types of Records in the Agriculture and Farming Industry
The agriculture and farming industry handles several documents to record their daily activities. Some of the records used in this industry are:
- Records of farm implements and equipment
- Records of agriculture inputs
- Records of livestock and livestock products
- Records of animal feeds
- Annual valuation records
- Records about animal disease management like disease response continuity plans and documentation to manage any disease outbreaks
- Records of breeding, feeding, batch number, date received etc
- Records of harvest, planting etc
- Cash book and payment receipts
- Production records
- Workers’ records
- Profit and loss record
- Financial records
- Farm health and welfare plan records
These are some of the vital documents that are used in the agriculture and farming industry that are needed to make informed decisions. Maintaining a record of all activities in this industry helps to monitor the growth of the industry and also prevent any fraudulent activities.
Importance of Keeping All Records
For being a successful farmer, it is important to record all data accurately. This helps the farmers to plan and complete realistic forecasting for the next year. Following are some of the reasons why it is important to record every activity:
- To Meet Federal Requirements: Lenders, government agencies, insurance companies, banks and other related agencies look for accurate information about the agriculture and farming industry. It helps to have a clear idea of the income
- For Better Planning and Forecasting: Good farm records are important to help farmers do realistic forecast for the coming years. It also provides vital data about which methods of farming are effective. With accurate records of previous years’ sales and expenditure records they can also predict price changes of inputs and produce.
- Proper Management for Farming: Farmers have to keep records of seeds purchased, germination of seeds, choosing seeds for the right season etc. Similarly, for livestock, farmers should keep proper records of bloodlines, pests, diseases, feed types and consumption. These records help to avoid inbreeding, control pests and disease, and provide the best feed for optimum performance.
- Track Income and Expenditure: Accurate information about income and expenditure helps farmers report the correct amount of money spent or gained from the farm. This helps in proper planning and budgeting.
Preserving records in agriculture and farming is important to make informed decisions. But, often data is recorded on paper that tend to deteriorate with years and loss of this data can affect performance, forecast and budgeting in this industry sector. Therefore, it is important to scan all paper-based records into digital format.
Four Reasons for Scanning Agriculture and Farming Records
- Stay Away from Unnecessary Expenses from Paper-Based Storage: Storing paper requires considerable investment in storing solutions like filing cabinets, bankers’ boxes, offsite storage facility and so on. This can also take up a lot of physical space. Another issue is that managing paper documents through processes such as printing, faxing, filing, and retrieving takes too much of time that could be spent on value-added projects.Scanning data helps to free up physical storage space, and prevents unnecessary expenses on filing cabinets and other storage facility. It also helps to store data in cloud storage facility that can be viewed from anywhere, at any time.
- Quick Access to Data: Scanning all vital agriculture and farming records helps to access any data quickly. It eliminates the need for wasting time searching for important information. Using keywords to search files makes it even more easy to access any vital information.
- Minimize Errors: Manual entry of data on paper can lead to errors. But scanning records with OCR technology helps to ensure accurate data. It also let you keep track of current changes, maintain the content of the original document, reducing the chance of errors caused by redundancy and outdated information.
- Automate Repetitive Tasks: Automating agricultural workflows helps to save time and money, and this minimizes the chance of errors due to missing documentation or approvals. Scanning also helps to fine-tune your daily processes to help your team get more out of each day.
Nutrien Ag Solutions Scans Documents – A Success Story
Nutrien Ag Solutions is a major player in the retail agricultural products business that is located in more than 1500 locations across the US and Canada. Most of their sales are done directly to individual farmers and ranchers who actually grow our food. So, their purchase and payments come at different times and they have to keep track of a lot of paperwork.
In 2019, Nutrien began a project to upgrade its back-end systems to better coordinate the receipt of payments, invoices, and other related documents. This helped them to get rid of the manual process of entry of every data, track data across accounts receivable, and ensure proper customer management.
Nutrien, which operates the largest network of agricultural retail stores in North America had more than 82 percent of the company’s transactions in checks which declined to 78 percent in 2020. They are currently equipped with scanners that are used to send check images to the central office for deposit.
Being able to capture and record every document related to the payment process not only gives the central office more visibility; it also replaces a process that’s historically been a mixed bag involving much more manual data entry for the local branches.
So, all the above points and case study shows the significance of converting paper-based records into digital format. To convert your agriculture and farming records into digital format, partner with a professional document scanning company that ensures high quality scanning and organization of all documents within your required turnaround time.