RealAg LIVE! with Shane Thomas on up-and-coming technology


Technology is something that many people are following — especially when it comes to online retail. What needs to happen in order for this tech to really take off?

Shane Thomas of Upstream Ag Insights joins Shaun Haney on today’s RealAg LIVE! to debate all things ag technology, online retail, biologicals, and more.

RealAg LIVE! streams every weekday at 3 pm E on Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter!


  • Heat blasting of canola. Some companies are coming out with insurance for this. Interesting where things are going when it comes to “big data”
  • This is something canola is susceptible to in Western Canada, but we also have to look at things like wheat and corn. Hot hot temperatures can cause damage to those crops too. We could see it flow into other crops. Opens pandoras box in a way
  • Outcome based pricing — does this sort of data science tie together? Yes
  • How do farmers feel about outcome based pricing? Thomas says besides some more negative comments across Twitter, he hasn’t seen a ton
  • Profit sharing is where there is a lot of apprehension
  • We’re seeing this in our iron too. VR type products, too
  • If we have a lot of growth when it comes to online buying — from a farmer to company standpoint we still have a lot of growth to go. It’s not quite where it needs to be
  • It always gets framed as buying, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be crop retails
  • How can we create a better experience for customers?
  • Maybe one day it’ll be similar to having a banking app, to keep up with what’s going on and what’s available. “Ambient ag commerce,” says Thomas.
  • All these sensors — how can we access and use that information?
  • We always focus on the final transaction, but there are lots of interactions that happen between the transactions too. Retailers have to look at where that opportunity is when it comes to customer service online
  • The trend of staying with one company is changing as well
  • If you look at some theories, there are different transitions from stream tech to the internet. There is always a “building phase,” and when it comes to online retail, thats where Thomas believes we are at right now
  • Right now, do we have an incentive problem when it comes to developing the proper tech? Maybe
  • One of the things that is taking up his time and interests right now is biologicals, and all the stepping stones that are being taken to better understand where they are going to fit
  • Trying to figure out which biologicals will take off is tricky right now. Thomas says it feels a bit like the Wild West
  • When we’re talking to anyone that’s collecting farming data, we talk a lot about privacy, and who owns the data. Is everyone doing a good job of that? We don’t know. But the topic is coming up a lot
  • Companies are hyperaware of data safety
  • We have to be giving a little bit of data too, in order to really be able to access what we need to
  • The value in the data is what the farmer does with it

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