FARMDATA: An internet-based smartphone compatible records management system for produce farms – free and open source to the public.

Posted: February 26, 2015

FARMDATA is a smartphone enabled internet-based record keeping system designed and field tested by produce farmers. Focus areas include field and greenhouse plantings, harvest, pack, inventory, distribution, e-invoicing, labor tracking, fertilizers, compost, cover crops, tillage, irrigation, scouting, spraying, and seed orders. The goals of FARMDATA are to replace clipboards and paper records across the produce farm, from the field to the packing house and beyond. More importantly, FARMDATA is designed to save growers valuable time both during the busy growing season and in the winter when planning for the coming year.

The Digital Clipboard:  All produce farms can benefit from better record keeping – knowledge is power, and good records improve farm efficiency and profitability.  Digital records are highly useful, since they can be easily copied, searched, and analyzed at the touch of a button.  Unfortunately, digitizing farm records at the end of a growing season can be painstaking – dealing with lost records, or incompletely logged information only makes the task even more difficult.  A five-year partnership between the Dickinson College Farm and the Dickinson College Department of Mathematics and Computer Science has resulted in an exciting, effective solution called FARMDATA.  

FARMDATA improves record keeping by using “smart” data entry forms that minimize user errors, perform calculations automatically, and store useful crop production information.  Growers and their staff can rapidly input valuable production data from the field.  Multiple users can make live updates to the database at the same time, and growers can search their production records from the field, desktop, or any internet connected device.  Each grower’s database is password protected and only accessible by registered users that the grower can delete or add at any time.

For organic growers, FARMDATA contains many features designed to facilitate easy annual inspections and reporting.  The development team partnered with Pennsylvania Certified Organic to optimize FARMDATA to meet the needs of certifiers – these special features include easily viewed comprehensive field records, compost accumulation and management logs, and plantings linked to seed orders for verification of organic seed use. 

Thanks to public funding from the USDA’s Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (NE-SARE),  FARMDATA is available for free public downloads to your farm website.  Interested users are invited to take a guest tour of the site.

To view an archived training webinar by the project developers.