Business Suffers Without a Reliable Internet Connection

A lack of affordable, high-speed Internet affects lives on both a professional and a personal level. Our interview with Jared Walpole showed how a lack of connection can negatively impact a home business and even elementary school education. For our most recent interview, we spoke with Kelly Lavhey, an employee at Agronomy Advantage, about their company’s lack of a reliable Internet connection.

What exactly is Agronomy Advantage?

Agronomy Advantage was launched in March of 2012 and provides independent agronomy services in Central and Midwestern Ontario. We​ provide new and innovative crop solutions for farm business focused on increasing farm profitability. Quality service is provided to deliver proactive, comprehensive planning and attention to cropping system details. The services provided are a stand alone offer and are independent from suppliers and retailers in Ontario. Our focus is on our clients and we take pride in our personal, one-on-one approach.

What services do you offer farmers of Ontario?

We provide timely crop monitoring throughout the growing season. Fields are systematically monitored and comprehensive detailed reports are sent to the grower directly from the field. Items monitored include: stand counts, insects, disease & weed pressure, nutrient deficiencies as well as overall plant health. Tissue and nitrate sampling is offered at key times throughout the growing season.

Seasonal soil sampling is completed every three years or as needed for troubleshooting. When reports are organized and received from the lab, we discuss them in detail with all clients to ensure long term fertility management. We provide zone or grid sampling. Manure analysis is also offered.

We work closely with clients to understand their cropping goals, both short term and long term. A detailed crop plan is developed, which includes fertility, crop protection, seed selection, seeding rates and more. These plans are grower specific, customized to their individual farm business. Particular attention is given to optimizing side-by-side trials.

Field history is collected and accumulated in a customized database. For example, crop rotation, problem weeds, spray history. This data is used to improve crop planning and in-field scouting. A mobile platform is used to provide maximum utility and access.

What are your current issues with the company’s Internet connection?

​Our Internet is unreliable. We operate our business in a rural location and we do everything from communications with clients, social media, accounting, reporting, etc. – it’s all done via the Internet. Our scouts use iPads in the field to make real-time reports, which are then sent via email to the office and the growers, it is the core service of our business and our iPads operate on Bell’s network, so the growers receive their reports long before the office does, which operates on xplornet.​

How could Agronomy Advantage improve its services with a better Internet connection?

​Often our growers receive reports before we do at the office. Our agronomist makes recommendations on fungicide, herbicide, etc. – all based on those reports. Spraying of fields is very time sensitive so having the reports in hand at the office at the same time as the grower is essential.​

What is your role at the company? How would an improved Internet connection affect your work?

​I am the Administrative Assistant here and I operate the office. I have to be able to rely on the Internet for bill payments, invoicing, social media, reporting, etc. On days when it rains, I can’t get on the Internet and therefore I can’t work.  ​

Is your personal life affected by a lack of affordable, high speed Internet? If so, how?

​Living in a rural area means that I cannot remain in contact with my friends and family. Frequently, I will have to drive nearly a half an hour to get free Wi-Fi from a McDonalds or Tim Hortons in order to get my emails and update my Facebook.

If you could send a message to all the county offices in Southwestern Ontario, what would you say?

​We cannot grow an agricultural business in Ontario with unreliable Internet. We will eventually be forced to move into an urban area in order to provide service to the most rural areas of our county and that is ridiculous.​

If you own a business in Southwestern Ontario and are experiencing the same troubles as Kelly Lavhey, contact us today and share your story.