What is an API, and why should farmers care?

Christy Oldenburg FMS Benefits, Latest Blog Posts


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Think back to the last time you had to make a run for parts at the local implement dealership. You likely stepped up to the counter, provided some basic information to the person at the counter, and watched them exit to a back room. Moments later they emerged with your item, and you were on your way to the rest of the day.

Chances are, the person who was working the counter was not the one who produced or fixed your part. They were the specific channel you had to move through to get you what you needed. That part didn’t manufacture or fix itself. Nor could it get to you without the help of the person behind the counter.

API

Application Programming Interface

An API is like the person behind the counter. APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, connect us to the information we need when we need it, and we rarely ever think about how it happens within the milliseconds it occurs. Conservis builds and utilizes APIs that move information from dirt to data. We also apply APIs to help send that data to other parts of the farming organization. This gathering and packaging of data brings real value for farmers, day in and day out.

In brief, an API is a set of digital functions that lets software access information and send a requested response. Sometimes the best way to envision this unseen interface is to consider all of the times you interact with an API, without even knowing it.

  • Ever logged into a random account via your Facebook or Twitter account? An API made that possible.
  • Googled the weather? Google is using an API to get information from a platform that specializes in weather.
  • Looked for gas stations on Maps? Yep - that is an API working to get you the information you want.
  • Done online shopping and chosen to pay with PayPal? An API connected you from the store to your PayPal account, without ever giving the store your detailed PayPal information.

Conservis develops APIs to work for you - the grower. The image below is just one example of the many ways we can move your data to where you need it to be.

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Digitizing Farm Data

Experts in farming analytics are coining the current times as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Farmers are using agtech strategies and tools to calculate everything from how much seed to purchase to how frequently to water a specific field. It is not a matter of asking How much should I incorporate technology into my farm? The real question farmers should ask themselves is: How can I best manage my  data and use it to grow my business?

  • Technology-generated data is one of the most valuable commodities a farmer has. This takes time and energy to manage, which is how Conservis helps clients. 
  • Behind the scenes we use APIs to bring your data from machine integration tools such as John Deere Operations Center and Climate FieldView™ and compile it so you can use it at a higher level.

Opportunities for growth and increased revenue for farmers lie at the heart of our API development. Trends continue to show that successful farm operations, whether those are generational family farms or corporate farms, embrace the possibilities of technology.

Farm Data Management and Movement with APIs

At a deeper level, API moves data using a programming language known as JSON (JavaScript Object Notation). JSON allows the API to communicate directly to software. We use JSON to develop the API as a unique key for just your information to unlock just your door of data. To harvest your data from your machine, using for example a John Deere Operations Center platform, we employ your unique API key. We then have the capability of further building those APIs so you can not only harvest the information, but move it and share it with your other platforms or trusted advisors.

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Security

The added bonus of APIs

Not only do APIs make data sharing possible, but they also make it secure - your own personal key for your own door to data. Let’s go back to the parts counter at your local implement dealer. You hand over the order number for your part. The person behind the counter - the API - matches your order number to your part. When they emerge from the back room they hand you your part - and you have no idea what other parts are behind the counter. You request specific information and you receive specific data (or parts).

The same is true for when you use APIs. You send a request with small amounts of information and the server returns the requested information without ever letting you into the server - the back room. 

Our Ag Data Transparency certification is just one small indicator of how seriously we take data security. We firmly believe that you own your data. We back up all information off-site, 24/7, and use powerful firewalls with 100% encryption, and our Cloud Operation Team regularly performs checks for potential threats and vulnerabilities. No one else has access to your information unless you authorize it - your API key is unique to you and your data.

Conservis Customer Success team members listen to farmers' needs

As our continued dedication to providing the most efficient methods for collecting, sharing, and reporting the data important to growers, Conservis is thinking about ways to harness the power of APIs. Whether connecting to platforms of your field equipment  or your accounting system, APIs have the potential to enhance productivity in extremely secure methods - where you own your data. Always. We are consistently listening to you, the farmer, working to leverage technology for your benefit.

Conservis is the leader in farm management software systems.

Since July of 2017 Conservis has been partnering with two giants in agriculture, John Deere Operations Centers (JDOC) and Climate FieldViewTM. Through the power of machine data integration and our successful use of APIs for these platforms, we provide farmers with the option to connect their agronomic data featuring real-time activities with costs to improve their overall financial picture and reporting capabilities.

Our clients have seen firsthand the benefits our technology provides on a daily basis, all year long. Wiens Farms of Beatrice, NE has shared the differences they see with the Conservis integration. Input Manager, Andrew Wiens, used other farm management software systems before Conservis and he speaks to the confidence he has in the Conservis team and how we handle machine integration in-house.

Andrew Wiens of Wiens Farms speaks about positive experience with Conservis

“We use MyJohnDeere to pull our information and it has been fairly seamless which we haven’t seen in other platforms.”

Andrew Wiens, Input Manager at Wiens Farms

As our company continues to grow and apply API technology, we want to hear about what you need from behind that imaginary parts counter. If you have farm data you want to harness, we want to hear from you!

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