Glenmary Farm LLC

Situated in stunning and scenic Rapidan Virginia, Glenmary Farm is home to the second and third generations of the Nixon family. “This farm was established in 1734,” states husband and father, Tom Nixon. “It was [an] original land grant from the King of England and Glenmary was the name that was given [to] this farm. My parents bought this original farm in 1980 at 365 acres, and since then I've expanded it to well over 1,100 acres.” 

“This farm is rich in history, it goes back to the Civil War,” says wife and mother, Kim Nixon. Today, Glenmary Farm has grown into a highly diversified operation, raising corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, sorghum, and rye, keeping the family extremely busy year-round. They also maintain a feedlot, where they run about 1,000 cows and finish approximately 2,500 head of cattle annually. The family sells beef locally and on the Glenmary Reserve Meats website, and raises poultry and turkeys for Cargill. 

At a glance

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Glenmary Farm LLC


Headquarters: Rapidan, VA

Crops Grown: Corn, Wheat, Barley, Sorghum, Soybeans, Rye, Vetch
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generations as a family farm
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acres grown
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full-time employees
2021
year they started using Conservis

Challenges


Understanding Field Profitability to Negotiate Land Rent

Knowing Grain Inventory to Sell with Confidence

Over or Underselling Commodities

When considering Conservis, the Nixon family needed a system that would track their cost of production down to field level. With profit as the primary goal, the family needed to know where they were making money. They craved a reliable system to help determine the value of rented lands along with a better way to keep up with lease agreements, all in hopes of breaking free from paper recordkeeping. They wanted a real-time source for inventory tracking capabilities as it pertains to their new seed business, as well as their grain inventory. Back in 2019, the family began using a different farm management system and owner Kim Nixon says, “They sold us a bill of goods that machine integration... everything was going to flow through real smoothly and it didn't.” 

Automatic Field Data with Climate FieldView™

“When we locked in and found you all, the machine integration has worked beautifully,” says Kim. “We have Ag Leader software, computers, and all of our equipment, and now have iPads, so everything has flown through beautifully.” This is a big relief for a family who’s not in agriculture for the data entry. 

Daughter Elizabeth elaborates, “When they were using the previous system, I would come and hear, ‘It's not working. We can't get it to work. Why isn't it?’” Using Conservis, the family’s experience has improved. “They really like everything that's coming in from the combine, and how all that's automatic.”

Along with Conservis, Glenmary Farm is new to Climate FieldView™. “We'd known people to use Climate FieldView™,” states son Robert. “And I'd wish I'd done both of them sooner. Climate [is] a really good starting point and Conservis just adds that much more to it.” Climate FieldView™ captures their as-applied data along with their yield data, which automatically transfers into Conservis. Conservis then marries Glenmary Farm’s as-applied data with their input costs, becoming the hub of the farm’s cropping data. With all their activity records in one spot, Glenmary Farm can choose to share reports with landowners, regulators, lenders, and trusted advisors using real-time field data at any point in the season. “When it comes to harvest, all the combine data is flowing through FieldView™ right into Conservis,” says Robert. “It's all getting logged and once we start shipping grain, it'll be using [it] to track inventory.”

“The best thing about Conservis... the machine integration has really worked well. Everything flows in nicely.” 

- Robert Nixon, Glenmary Farm LLC

Understanding Field Profitability to Negotiate Land Rent

“The one reason that I really was drawn to Conservis comes [down] to negotiating land rent with several of our landowners,” says Kim. “They basically have no idea what it's costing to put out an acre of corn, beans, or wheat.” Kim realizes that landowners hear about sporadic high grain prices which stick in their minds. Now Kim is grateful to have data to showcase their production levels, as well as how much money is truly being made. “About two or three years ago, Tom was in negotiation with two different landowners and the one had a reputation for not giving an inch,” says Kim. “We felt like we were paying way too much money, but we couldn't prove to them that the farm wasn't that profitable to justify the land rent. That's what drew me to start looking for more data-driven software.”

Daughter Elizabeth expands, “The landowners around here are intelligent. They've been very successful in politics or banking and they've come from DC, Connecticut, [and] New York. These are business smart people and they want to make sure that they're renting their land to somebody that's going to take care of it and is going to make good business decisions.”

Conservis pulls the farm’s agronomic data into Conservis before marrying it with their financials to show the family their bottom line. “We have fields that may have three to six different soil types in a 30-acre field, so we are struggling with different soil types,” states Kim. “And that's where Conservis comes into play. We are going to be able to figure out which fields are making us money.” 

“If we have a farm that we're not making money on, then is there a point to be farming it?” 

- Kim Nixon, Glenmary Farm LLC

Knowing Grain Inventory to Sell with Confidence

Glenmary Farm features four individual grain facilities housing 240,000 bushels per farm, with each bin holding 60,000 bushels. Prior to Conservis, when a bin grew full, Kim and Tom simply assumed they had 60,000 bushels, but that assumption rarely panned out. “I run into a situation every year that I end up overselling or underselling. Last year, I got myself in a little situation where I oversold some beans. Luckily it worked out because bean prices went up, but if it had gone the other way, it'd have been terrible.”

“When I come to do inventory every month, I'm going to be able to look at that [Conservis], instead of having Tom say, ‘Well, I think you've shipped 30 loads out of that bin, you may have 30,000 bushels left.’”

- Kim Nixon, Glenmary Farm LLC

“Now, we're going to know how many bushels are in that bin,” says Kim. “And we're going to be able to track when the grain is being delivered to one of the mills, or to the port. It's going to be more clear, concise data, instead of a lot of estimates.”

Rising Above the Competition

“Before joining Conservis, we attempted another farm management system,” says Robert Nixon. The family wasn’t happy due to unkept promises. “We wanted to keep track of everything and know if we're really making money. We found out about Conservis partially through our bank, Rabo AgriFinance, because we found out they were involved in Conservis and that's what drew our interest. The more we looked into it, the more we thought it would work better for us.”

“I felt like it was a more user-friendly type of program.” 

- Kim Nixon, Glenmary Farm LLC

Getting Started

From the get-go, Glenmary Farm saw differences between Conservis and their previous farm management system. Robert noticed that the Conservis onboarding process went smoother and he felt reassured by having a Customer Success Manager who led the process and provided guidance. The setup and initial startup was easy and we got all our information in upfront,” says Robert. “So it was easier to use later on.”

His mother Kim echos Robert, “It went really well, probably better than I anticipated.” 

User-friendly

“We were more drawn to Conservis because it looked more user-friendly, like something that we could implement,” says Robert. “There are so many inputs that go into a crop and things don't get recorded properly when we don't have technology.” Robert is looking to Conservis to track all the farm’s inputs, costs, and as-applied field data in one organized system.

An Inclusive Input Database

The family’s previous farm management software was cumbersome, using their own input database which excluded Glenmary’s chosen inputs. In thinking back to their prior system, Robert says, “If your input didn't match what was in their database, it just wouldn't work. And with Conservis, you have your own database essentially, and it made it a lot easier because you just had to match to your own inputs.” 

Kim expands, “The database was so specific with our prior tech company that we worked with... when you purchase a lot of inputs, some chemical companies make the same input, same chemical, but they have their own name. So it wouldn't accept it. With this [Conservis], you can enter all your chemicals in and it just works so much [more] smoothly.” Conservis integrates with Crop Data Management Systems (CDMS) to give growers immediate access to knowing what’s in each chemical. This is a win for Glenmary Farm’s traceability, food safety, and recordkeeping alike. 

Empowering Data-Driven Decisions

“We’ve got to embrace the technology or we're going to be left behind,” states Tom. “The young guys that we hire are technology savvy. They understand how to run the GPS systems and after a couple of hours of training, they know how to run the iPhones, the iPads. So it's just been a whole lot easier for us to get these guys to take charge and some of them are making some of their own decisions, which has really been nice.” 

“It allows us to have information at our fingertips.” 

- Tom Nixon, Glenmary Farm LLC

Tom and Kim appreciate having a system that tracks real-time activities so no matter where they stand, they can see what fieldwork and progress have taken place many miles down the road. “A lot of the stuff is coming into Kim in the office and so she really likes knowing what's going on." 

Real-time visibility is a major win for a busy man like Tom, who may take upwards of 75 phone calls in a single day. “That's the life I lead, I get a lot of questions, and I have to give a lot of answers, and I got to do it in a hurry. And then by having the iPad in my truck, I can look up certain things and I say, well, you need to do this, and this is what's already been done. So, the speed of the information, having it at your fingertips is going to be a big, big factor for us.”

The Conservis & Rabo AgriFinance Partnership

“We've been with Rabo for several years now,” says Tom. “We felt that it was the right fit for us because we want them to have the information that they need for us to be successful.” Tom is grateful for the trust that Rabo has earned and the transparency that Conservis provides. “We're not an operation that wants to hide anything from our loan officers.” 

Each Conservis client owns their Conservis data and shares information only when and if they choose to. Kim Nixon was introduced to Nelson Powell, Senior Relationship Manager at Rabo AgriFinance about four years ago. “Sometimes I think Nelson is my wife's best friend!” Tom says with a chuckle. “I think she's got him on speed dial! He's a people person and that means a lot.”

Tom sees value in pairing Conservis with Rabo. When thinking about knowing his precise input quantities, he states, “That's going to benefit Rabo too, they need to see what our inventory is. That's one of the reasons I wanted to do this because I want them to have access to what we have here. I think that's going to be a huge fit for us.”

Prior to working with Rabo, the family used a local lender, but it ended poorly. “What we've experienced in the past is they may finance your farming operation, but then they're bought out, or they want to do away with ag lending. Then all of a sudden we're faced with, ‘We're going to give you 30 days or 90 days to find other financing.’ Well, that happened to us twice, and we were done with the smaller banks.”

Legacy Planning

“Family transition is one of the biggest downfalls of so many farming operations,” says Kim matter of factly. She gives a great deal of credit to her two children. “They are two of the hardest working people in their twenties that I know of,” she says.

Thinking about his kids, Tom says, “We told them this is going to be yours one day, but you're going to have to work for it. We'll give it to charity before we hand it to you and they appreciate that I think.”

“For the next generation, we've got to stay strong, we’ve got to build a profitable operation.”

- Kim Nixon, Glenmary Farm, LLC

In order to be sustainable, the family realizes that keeping profit in the foreground is a must. “We know to be successful long-term that this farm needs to stay strong as one unit,” says Tom. “And we want to provide enough for both of them to make decisions on their own, but yet come together. And I think we're on the right path. When you leave here, what do you leave? Your legacy and your children.”

Newly married daughter Elizabeth elaborates, “The more information that you have about this farming operation, the better decisions you're going to make and we can't survive if we can't be sustainable. My future kids won't be here if Robert and I don't continue to work to make it better. We both want our kids to be involved in this because, in my mind, there's no better way to grow up.” 

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