Written by The Business Journal Staff
In addition, Gleason, the app developer, is also a former certified public accountant and operates his own 2,500 acres of farmland mostly in the areas of Coalinga, Madera, Lost Hills and Arizona.
It’s that experience and know-how that prompted him to start his own Fresno-based software-development company five years ago, with a goal not to develop a product and sell it, but rather to develop an app that would help him better run the business side of the farms he owns and manages.
Others with programming expertise — including Irma Olguin, co-founder and co-CEO of Bitwise Industries — were hired by the new company, Edit, LLC, to develop the software. Meanwhile, Gleason, 59, said he provided the farming expertise to help create a finished product that wouldn’t fall short of what a farmer would need.
His farm management company, West Hills Farm Services, then used the product, providing the initial testing so the app could be tweaked to work better.
In fact, Gleason said the new app worked so well that he decided a couple of years ago that it was too good to keep to himself, so this week Edit, LLC, announced that the app, Montage for Ag, is available for sale.
“Initially, it was developed to be an internal product — a way to manage data for ourselves,” he said, adding that as he discussed the software in development with other farmers, many told him they could use it, too.
“What I realized is there are more and more farmers who would like to have this help.”
The cloud-based app essentially allows farmers to merge data including current and past crop yields, agronomist reports, fertilization records, and pest spraying and permit records, to name some.
And because it’s cloud based, farmers can look up the information in the field, on their computer tablets, laptops and smart phones, as well as use the app to communicate with clients and workers and share the data between them.
The Montage software also includes map-based capabilities, so farmers and farm managers can pinpoint a particular area on a farm and call up the specific data, Gleason explained.
The product also links multiple sensor technologies such as weather, moisture probes and water well-measuring devices into the application’s ranch-mapping feature, states an Edit, LLC, press release.
“I can look at that map, click on a well to see data and history of data on that area and check on wells or access the history of wells,” Gleason said.
“It doesn’t matter where you are in the world. You can access data, control pumps, monitor [crop] moisture levels and check standing water levels.”
The developers say Montage for Ag can also help with succession planning at family farms by having most all of the information somebody might need to take over the farm gathered in one place.
“Each farmer, manager or rancher has a treasure chest of knowledge, whether it is cultural practices or decades of experience. This information is housed in many brilliant minds and could potentially fail to be passed onto the next generation if it is not captured,” the company’s press release continues.
The app isn’t free, however. Farms will be charged 20 cents per acre per month to use it.
It can be downloaded online at http://montageforag.com. The website also allows visitors to see a demonstration of the app, as well as download the software for a free 30-day trial.
Gleason hosted a booth at the World Ag Expo this week to show visitors the app, and he’s working on plans to show it at other ag industry trade events, including some overseas.