Farmland with irrigation system.

ERP and water management in agricultural production

By | Agriculture, ERP | No Comments
Farm land with irrigation system.

Profitable farms rely on water resources.

Good water management in agriculture isn’t just essential for healthy crops and livestock. It’s also important to maximize profit.

Records show that the majority of farmland is irrigated. And while some farms still rely on aquifers, many of these farms are under pressure to conserve their usage because the water isn’t being replenished as quickly as it’s used. Farms who depend on irrigation, even in part, should take care to monitor water usage to maximize crop yield and profit.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems like Sage X3 are being widely implemented in agriculture to provide farm owners with a bird’s eye view into their operations. Aligning ERP with key objectives like water usage and management can help farmers to better monitor other aspects of business and ensure greater unity between production and finances.

Irrigation scheduling with ERP

Agronomy and irrigation go hand in hand, where each one influences the other in nearly every aspect. Because so much of production planning relies on soil conditions and water availability, ERP is positioned to provide an effective solution to the agriculture industry.

ERP’s multi-faceted integrations support a variety of business systems, including financial administration, sales, distribution, and warehouse management. ERP can be customized to support industry-specific functions as well, including irrigation scheduling and water management to strategically use water resources and maximize profitability.

These systems must not only address large-scale agricultural needs, but should also be able to dial down to local conditions, particularly concerning water availability and usage. Having a central database of government requirements regarding irrigation, average local rainfall, and each farm’s unique data collected by ERP can help farmers to better plan crop production and find opportunities to improve efficiency.

Improving farm management business information systems

Farm land with crops.

ERP caters to all aspects of business management.

In the past, the applicability of ERP in agriculture has been regarded as limited due to the high uncertainty in the industry. While ERP can effectively cover supply chain logistics that are characterized by stability and predictability, its benefits were not easily replicated in crop planning and production.

That’s no longer the case in 2020, where ERP adoption is becoming more of a widespread practice. Arguably, it’s agriculture’s unpredictability that has made enterprise-wide business systems a valuable tool for
farmers, along with a growing flexibility among ERP providers to create industry-specific features and functions.

As farming technology grows in sophistication, farmers need a centralized way to collect data regarding their farming practices and transform it into usable insights. Combining water usage data with other key business areas like sales, supply chain logistics, production planning, and financial health can give farmers a more realistic view of operations and make data-driven decisions moving forward.

What to expect from agricultural ERP

The benefits of an agriculture ERP can only be realized if a proper implementation is combined with effective solutions development. As a leading Sage X3 provider, NexTec works with farm owners to develop and implement agriculture ERP solutions that speak to your unique organizational needs.   Take a free tour of Sage X3 and discover how NexTec and Sage can help you improve your agricultural business.

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Business Intelligence in agriculture: What does it mean in practical terms

By | Agriculture, BI, ERP, Sage X3 | No Comments
Inspecting agriculture.

Agriculture can benefit from cloud-based technology in many ways.

We’re living in the era of Big Data. While we tend to think of data as being a highly coveted asset among companies in technology, finance, and retail, it’s also important to recognize its role in the agriculture sector.

Agriculture businesses share many of the same goals as businesses in other industries:

  • They seek to find new ways to lower costs with minimal or no sacrifices.
  • They want to maximize profits in the face of rising operating costs or changes in demand.
  • They continue to cater to their audience’s needs by producing high-quality, trustworthy products.
  • They want to improve their vendor and supplier relationships for ongoing success.

Any company or industry that uses business intelligence may find these goals are more feasible and more easily achieved with the implementation of business intelligence systems.

What do we mean by business intelligence?

Burlap bag and crops.

Data-driven decisions can improve profitability.

Business intelligence, or BI, refers to the software, systems, processes, and other technologies that collect and report on business-critical information. The goal of BI is to allow companies to tap into their data to make better business decisions.

When applied to agriculture, business intelligence can cover a broad array of technologies, including but not limited to:

  • Sensors in the fields
  • Mobile devices with agriculture-specific apps
  • Cloud-based software and computing for real-time updates
  • Precision agriculture systems
  • Internet of Things-enabled equipment and gadgets

When BI systems are thoughtfully developed, they can monitor every aspect of a farming operation and collect and crunch data that farmers can use to make improvements.

What are the benefits of business intelligence?

Farming storage.

Business intelligence creates smarter farms.

Proper analysis of the amount of data that can be collected by farming organizations is virtually impossible using conventional methods. Adopting BI systems allows farms to make better use of their data and take advantage of its intended benefits, including:

  • Making data-driven decisions

First and foremost, business intelligence drives smarter decisions. Farming’s purpose of providing a service essential to life leaves little room for error, and farms need data they can trust. BI systems provide real-time data across the entire business operation so that farmers can better understand the impact of their decisions on specific areas and the organization as a whole.

  • Increasing competitive advantages

Farming businesses are no strangers to competing for sales of the same product, particularly as many regions or areas grow similar crops simply because of natural conditions. With greater intelligence and better decisions come opportunities to improve, which could help you gain an advantage over competing farms.

  • Improving forecasting

Forecasting is an essential part of running a successful agribusiness. All of your production must be planned in advance, which means you must take into account your anticipated market demand, weather conditions, labor availability, and potential obstacles that could impact your goals. BI can help you with forecasting because it collects data over time and can detect trends and anomalies based on large sets of your own data.

  • Integrating a network of agri-tech

Smart tech in agriculture is growing, and BI serves as an anchor point to unite multiple technologies. BI connects various points of data with each other to develop deeper insights into your farming operations.

Use cases for BI in agriculture

Observing growth of plants.

How can farms use BI?

The agriculture industry as a whole demonstrates the need to apply business intelligence to a variety of use cases. In doing so, farming operations are in a better position to achieve the above benefits. Some of these use cases include:

  • Production planning

There are many moving parts to planning a crop: availability and preparation of the land, planting, irrigation, harvesting, and shipping, to name a few. BI can rely on data from previous years to improve your planning and allow you to avoid reinventing the wheel with each new production cycle.

  • Sales goals

As your farming expenses change, so may your sales goals in order to maintain profitability. BI systems can monitor the financial end of your operations and help you improve your production to ensure you’re hitting the right objectives.

  • Managing recalls

No farm wants to find itself at the center of a recall. For starters, recalls can be extremely expensive in terms of lost revenue and damaged vendor and supplier trust. Plus, it’s not always easy to trace recalled items through the supply chain.

BI helps to simplify this process by keeping up with batch numbers, harvest dates, storage conditions, sell dates, and other important data that can help you mitigate the impact of a recall.

  • Waste reduction

One of every farm’s primary goals is to reduce waste at every link in its operations chain. Spoilage means goods are no longer viable to sell, which can eat into profits. Other types of waste, including damage to equipment, unnecessary irrigation, or other activities that don’t add value can also impact a farm’s profit.

BI systems are comprehensive in nature and serve to help farms identify areas of waste across your operations. This allows you to plug money leaks before they wreak havoc on your finances.

Deploying Sage X3 in your agriculture business intelligence strategy

When examining specific use cases for BI in agriculture, it’s not just a matter of collecting and reviewing data. Farmers also need a simple way to tap into the data they find most useful in a way that’s agile and user-friendly. Many don’t have time to master a steep learning curve and need an intuitive interface and features to get up and running right out of the gate to make it worthwhile.

Because of these factors, many agriculture businesses find Sage X3 to be a favorable solution. Its powerful features are designed with agribusiness needs in mind to increase profits and reduce expenses while focusing on core business functions like production, finances, and the supply chain.

As a long-time Sage X3 implementation partner, NexTec puts years of experience behind developing and launching business intelligence systems for agriculture organizations. We’ve designed additional functionality around agriculture business needs that can help you make the most of your data. Get our short guide to BI and what it can do for your business.

Rows of crops.

ERP Empowers better budgeting and decision-making in agriculture

By | Agriculture, ERP | No Comments

Row of farm crops.

Are you looking for a way to improve budgeting in your agriculture business? This aspect of farming can be challenging. Arming yourself with the right resources and tools empowers you to make better decisions and nets you the best possible results.

Budgeting is about using the best resources to plan for the future. Enterprise resource planning software, or ERP software, brings together all the aspects of your agriculture business. All the processes from inventory to equipment acquisition through to the final products must be managed accordingly, and ERP software makes this happen.

Use an ERP system when you need to create a budget and make important decisions to streamline the business processes that keep your farm running smoothly. Better budgeting means better decision-making.

Why you need a budget

A budget helps you run your farm with optimal efficiency and profitability. Without it, you would have a difficult time identifying challenges and overcoming them. It also allows you to monitor your finances and make well-informed decisions.

All small businesses need budgets to avoid issues with long-term planning and unexpected expenses. Yet many small agriculture business owners skip this important step.

According to a recent survey, 74% of businesses with no more than 10 employees did not create an official budget in 2018. Among those who took the time to create one, 37% spent more than they planned for during the first and second quarters of the same year.

Use proven best practices when creating a budget. These will serve as guidelines for acquiring the right resources and using them wisely. Consider the following.

Use industry benchmarks

Industry benchmarks allow you to compare your budget numbers with existing industry standards. If yours are radically different, find out why.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and dig into those industry resources to understand the differences. This is also a great way to confirm their validity.

Monitor data for more than one season

Man drinking a cup of coffee while looking at his desktop computer screen.

Monitor your crop data over multiple seasons. Though it’s important to know how each crop performed during the previous year, changes in details such as soil composition and water levels impact the results.

Keep track of small business trends and forecasts for the coming year. This includes statistics about small business owners in general.

Use the right agriculture ERP software budgeting tools

The right tools are critical to building a successful budget. They should be easy to use for everyone involved.

Collaboration is an important part of budgeting. The tools you choose should accommodate key decision-makers so information can be shared across all platforms.

Select a budgeting tool that aligns with agriculture best practices and isn’t overly complex or time-consuming. You’re outlining the direction of your agriculture business and creating an expectation model for the next three to five years.

The tool should allow you to implement forecasting of historical data and market conditions to predict financial outcomes. Use previous budgets to determine how your farm aligns with this market data to make predictions for the foreseeable future.

Understand potential challenges

Every agriculture business experiences challenges which can make budgeting difficult. Obstacles such as droughts, storms, and natural disasters affect crop growth during any given year. Equipment failures prompt the need for repairs or replacements.

When constructing a budget, you’ll need to plan for the possibility of such occurrences. The right budgeting tool can help you do that efficiently so you’ll have the resources to handle various challenges that might arise.

Sage X3 for agriculture ERP needs

AgriBusiness ERP, built on the Sage X3 platform, is an ERP solution that is fast, flexible and easy to use. It gives you control of all your resources and takes the guesswork out of planning your next budget by placing all the information you need at your fingertips. Let NexTec be your ERP software partner to ensure the best results and fastest return on investment.

See how NexTec can tailor your Sage X3 to your needs.

Tractor treating crops.

2020 Agriculture industry study now available

By | Agriculture, ERP | No Comments
Tractor treating crops.

What are the biggest business challenges in agriculture?

NexTec recently conducted an annual agriculture industry study to uncover the most pressing challenges agribusinesses face. We surveyed 113 individuals in 39 states who worked for agriculture companies.

Let’s look at some of the key takeaways we discovered:

Managing costs is the biggest challenge for agribusinesses

A total of 86% of respondents admitted that costs were a challenge in managing an agriculture business, with 41% citing it as a significant challenge. For comparison, efficiency and productivity were the next challenges deemed “significant” and received just 27% of the vote.

There’s no doubt that costs are a chief concern among farmers, particularly with volatile markets, rising labor costs, and costs associated with equipment maintenance, technology, and business growth as a whole.

Without properly managing costs, agribusinesses may be unable to grow at a profitable rate. However, the types of information technology applications (including agriculture ERP) that are available today can help farmers to better understand their various operating costs and specifically how they’re affecting profits.

Forecasting is the largest management concern

Budding crops appearing.

Forecasting includes cost management, revenue, and production.

Management challenges are a category of their own, and forecasting took the lion’s share of survey responses as the top contender. In the survey, 79% of farmers claimed that predicting costs, production, and revenue is more challenging than planning, traceability, or managing production, sales, inventory, quality, finances, and personnel.

According to a recent report by Gro Intelligence, this could be because the agriculture industry as a whole still relies on data delivered in the form of monthly reports, compared to other industries that can access real-time data updated by the second. This leads to a dangerously inaccurate forecasting model that doesn’t allow agriculture businesses to capitalize on their data in a way that can remove much of the guesswork from their predictions.

Nearly 75% of growers are still using spreadsheets and disparate systems

Part of the inefficiency fueling the lack of ability to forecast is the presence of outdated systems and tools, of which 75% of farms are still using. Despite the fact that about half of farming operations are using advanced solutions like Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), three out of four still rely on spreadsheets and disparate systems to assist in operations.

The good news is that ERP and WMS are leading choices for near-future upgrades and investments. In the survey, 44% of farms plan to upgrade to ERP within the next two years, while 39% say the same of WMS.

Typing on a computer keyboard.

Spreadsheets can severely restrict how you use your data.

If respondents stick to this upgrade schedule, then forecasting and cost management may not be as great of a challenge within the next two years as they are now. Agriculture ERP specifically is designed to provide holistic insight into farming operations and use your real data to effectively manage costs and make accurate forecasts.

How NexTec is addressing growth challenges with agriculture ERP

Given the current agribusiness challenges, NexTec is helping to address them with thoughtful design and implementation of agriculture ERP. As a leading Sage partner, NexTec works with agriculture businesses to create robust solutions that unify operations, finance, and data to help you improve efficiencies across the board.

See how NexTec can tailor Sage X3 to your needs.

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Person holding a basket filled with tomatoes.

Lot traceability in agriculture: Why it’s a critical ERP component

By | Agriculture, ERP, Sage X3 | No Comments
Person holding a basket filled with fresh tomatoes.

Lot traceability allows food companies to track ingredients at each stage of production.

Agriculture companies today have customers that expect transparency in the products they buy. That means sharing the ingredients, sources, and processes being used at each stage of production.

Lot tracking is a critical part of agricultural production today. Lot traceability provides a detailed history of each component of your food production and is essential for managing each batch, lot and unit.

Managing that complexity requires a sophisticated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution that helps track, monitor and report on lot traceability. Here’s a look at lot traceability in agriculture and why it’s a critical ERP component.

Defining lot traceability

Lot traceability allows for tracking throughout the supply chain, in multiple production locations and is an important component of new federal food safety guidelines in the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Lot traceability can include many components, including:

  • Supply chain segments, including suppliers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers
  • Materials and ingredients used
  • Equipment and processes used
  • Packaging and labeling

Typically, RFID and barcode solutions are used within food production facilities to track various lot components.

Workers sorting through coffee beans.

In the event of a food recall event, lot tracking allows for rapid and accurate responses.

Why lot traceability is necessary

Lot traceability is an important consideration for businesses and regulators when there is a need for a product recall. With sound lot tracking practices in play, companies can quickly identify the dates, times, locations, ingredients and finished goods that need to be recalled. Lot traceability helps companies deliver information that is more precise to consumers and the public. It also helps remove affected products faster and identify the causes of contamination.

The right food ERP can make it easier for regulators, public health officials, manufacturers, and consumers to understand and respond.

Lot traceability has applications that are far less dire. For example, precise lot tracking in an ERP solution can provide other benefits, including:

  • Product Performance. Lot tracking helps you assess the costs and efficacy of different seed varieties or growing conditions.
  • Product Visibility. Lot tracing gives you better insights at each stage of product migration, from growing to shipping to distribution. Digital visibility lets you collect and analyze information in real-time throughout a product’s journey.
  • Inventory Management. Lot traceability gives you a clear sense as to what ingredients are used and when, allowing for better inventory control, expiration management, and space optimization.
  • Supplier Management. With lot traceability, you’ll have a clearer understanding of your suppliers and data that can be used to improve supplier relationships. You can use collected data to refine orders, negotiate better deals and request special considerations.
  • Automation and efficiency. Tools integrated within your food ERP help create more efficient production processes using automation, artificial intelligence, Big Data and Internet of Things technologies.

Selecting the right ERP

Sage X3 is the leading provider of food ERP solutions that provide for comprehensive and compliant lot traceability. NexTec is the business software consultancy firm that helps you optimize your food ERP to get the most out of your technology investment.

See one example of how NexTec and Sage X3 helped Nichols Farms improve efficiency, accountability, and outcomes. To learn more, see how NexTec can tailor your Sage X3 to your needs.

Sage Platinum Reseller

Person standing in a field of cannabis.

Growth in hemp industry necessitates advanced ERP tools

By | Agriculture, Hemp, Sage X3 | No Comments
Woman standing in a field of cannabis plants.

Hemp businesses are facing increased production and pricing uncertainty in a period of dramatic change.

The hemp industry continues to expand at a remarkable rate. Managing that growth in business means companies need to manage the complexities of growth, cultivation, retail, and operations with complex tools that can scale and adapt to handle the additional opportunities.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is an ideal way to integrate data, processes, and security across your hemp business. An agriculture ERP solution gives your company a significant competitive advantage.

Here’s a look at why growth in the hemp industry necessitates advanced ERP tools.

State of the hemp industry

The hemp industry is in the midst of the first year hemp could be harvested after the plant was removed from the Controlled Substances Act. Despite there being state-by-state variances in wholesale prices, as hemp becomes a national commodity, there will be a leveling of price as producers compare across state lines. However, for now, there is still a great deal of regional variability in price.

After passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp production became a legal business practice. In the next year, the industry changed rapidly. Hemp-based products are now available at dispensaries, smoke shops, supermarkets, and convenience stores nationwide.

Demand is huge for hemp-based products and the market is starting to respond. According to one database provider, as of September 2019, there were:

  • 12,343 active hemp licenses, with nearly 12,000 of the in the United States and the remainder in Canada
  • 544 active hemp seed licenses in the United States
  • 10,672 active cultivator licenses in 30 states
  • 1,323 active processor license

Cultivation was one of the key growth stories in 2019. There was a significant expansion of cultivation licenses as farmers began growing what is perceived as a highly profitable crop.

The federal Department of Agriculture reported in August 2019 that U.S. farmers nearly quadrupled the amount of land committed to hemp in one year to 128,000 acres in 2019 compared to 27,000 acres in 2018. That 328 percent increase far eclipsed the second-largest growth crop – maple sap, which grew 85 percent in the same period.

According to Cannabiz Media, acreage dedicated to hemp production is growing exponentially – with approved acreage growing by 12 times in Tennessee and by three times in Kentucky.

The math makes sense for farmers to shift to hemp.

“There are a lot of things you can do on a farm, but there aren’t a lot of things you can do to make money,” Will Brownlow, a Kentucky farmer, noted in a 2018 interview shortly after he shifted to hemp. A dense acre of flowers containing CBD could yield $30,000, compared to $500 an acre for soybeans, he said.

“The plant is a weed,” he said. “And it likes to grow.”

The top 10 states with the largest number of cultivator licenses as of September 2019 were:

  1. Tennessee (2,913)
  2. Oregon (2,534)
  3. Kentucky (972)
  4. Colorado (759)
  5. New York (422)
  6. North Carolina (396)
  7. Pennsylvania (328)
  8. Vermont (311)
  9. California (291)
  10. Montana (258)

The top 10 states with the largest amount of land growing hemp in 2018 were:

  1. Montana (13,141 acres)
  2. Colorado (5,562 acres)
  3. Kentucky (4,615 acres)
  4. North Carolina (3,263 acres)
  5. North Dakota (2,669 acres)
  6. Tennessee (726 acres)
  7. Wisconsin (665 acres)
  8. Minnesota (583 acres)
  9. Oregon (496 acres)
  10. New York (332 acres)
Cannabis plant.

States are rapidly expanding the number of approved acres and cultivators for hemp.

A look at several states and hemp production

Here’s a closer look at the state of hemp production in the top three states in 2018 acreage.

  • Colorado. Farmers characterize the regulatory climate as favorable, in keeping with the pioneering role the state has taken in many areas of cannabis and hemp, including the first U.S. pilot hemp program. Colorado faces a challenging actual climate for hemp production. The arid, low-humidity climate means crops are thirsty, with high irrigation demands during peak growing seasons – May to October. However, in 2019, heavy rains hurt early planting, meaning farmers had to rework fields several times. Severe weather can also be an issue, with both long snow seasons and hailstorms in northern Colorado always a threat.
    • June 2019 Supply
      • Licensed acres: 80,000
      • Licensed indoor square footage: 9 million
      • Licensed growers: 2,300 active registrants
  • Product Prices
    • Hemp flower: $200 to $500 per pound
    • Whole-plant biomass: $25 to $60 per pound
  • Kentucky. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a vocal champion for his state’s hemp business and drove the crop’s inclusion in the 2018 Farm Bill. In 2019, the state approved 5 times as many hemp farmers and triple the acres than in 2018. A very wet spring has meant a challenging growing season.
    • March 2019 Supply
      • Licensed acres: 58,000
      • Licensed indoor square footage: 6 million
      • Licensed growers: 1,047
  • Product Prices
    • Hemp flower: $200 to $400 per pound
    • Whole-plant biomass: $25 to $40 per pound
  • Montana. The top producer in 2018 predicts to double production in 2019. Long known for grain production, hemp is a promising option for farmers facing difficult tariffs. The state has passed laws that make it easier for hemp farmers, too. The dry northern climate means a short growing season and permission to tap into federal water resources on a case-by-case basis.
    • June 2019 Supply
      • Licensed acres: 40,000
      • Licensed indoor square footage: Unknown
      • Licensed growers: 250
  • Product Prices
    • Hemp flower: $200 to $400 per pound
    • Whole-plant biomass: $40 to $60 per pound

Impact of legalization on hemp companies

With the legalization of hemp cultivation, the impact on cannabis companies has been significant. Companies today need to be increasingly vigilant about changes in the industry.

Price

Pricing was a complicated issue in 2019. The increase in cultivators and acres committed to hemp has meant an overproduction of the product, leading to extensive supply. That production may be outpacing consumer interest, driving a reduction in pricing across the country.

According to one analysis, CBD isolate prices fell from a high of $9,470 per kilogram in October 2018 to $4,133 per kilogram in August 2019, a decline of more than 50 percent in less than a year.

This pattern is not unexpected. As Hempgrower.com noted, cannabis markets behaved similarly in the year after legalization. The states of Oregon and Washington each saw “an immediate spike in prices, followed by a dramatic oversupply and subsequent price crash. Only now is the Washington market beginning to feel a shortage in the cannabis market—a correction, of sorts—signaling a stabilizing process.”

Regulation

Regulation also contributes greatly to the uncertainty facing the hemp industry today. While the federal government has not yet issued any guidelines on hemp growing, many states and local jurisdictions are creating mandates in the growing, use, sales, banking and documentation required for hemp companies to remain in business.

The many different regulatory structures is a complex issue that is best served by a hemp ERP solution that monitors and tracks data, provides reporting on demand, and generates documentation necessary for each different regulating entity.

There are also the very tangible constraints that regulatory pressure is putting on farmers. Take THC content, for example. Restrictions on potency are common and need to be addressed by each farmer, who may not be familiar with growing techniques for this hands-on crop.

Long Term 

The 2018 Farm Bill explicitly spells out that industrial hemp is any cannabis plant with less than 0.3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It also makes clear that cannabidol (CBD) is still classified by the Food and Drug Administration as a drug ingredient that is illegal to include in food or health products without FDA approval.

This uncertainty in terms of federal regulation means that farmers and companies are taking the long view when it comes to markets and growth, believing that the federal-state-local discrepancies will eventually shake out.

Using hemp ERP to drive business success

Rapid growth, regulatory mandates and price uncertainty means having an ERP that can accomplish the myriad skills your cannabusiness needs. Sage X3 offers an ERP product with your hemp business in mind.

With Sage X3, you have access to a powerful tool that provides best-practices ERP software to integrate data, deliver transparency and productivity and improve business outcomes. For cannabis and hemp companies, Sage X3 offers industry-specific advantages including:

  • Traceability via RFID, barcode or manual entry
  • Operational data capture
  • Intuitive user interfaces
  • A configurable quality control module
  • The ability to integrate with state and province regulatory systems

NexTec helps companies manage their business software needs. Our experts offer extensive expertise into the vendors, products and features for enterprise resource planning and other software tools.

In partnership with Sage X3, NexTec has developed a single platform for managing your hemp business. From operations management to distribution, NexTec’s Hemp Business Technology solution delivers industry-specific value, including:

  • Financial and operational management
  • Traceability controls at each phase
    • Plant processing including drying, trimming, curing, extraction, product manufacturing, testing, and packaging
    • Inventory tracking, pre-delivery and delivery
  • Product recall management
  • Complaint management
  • Production scheduling
  • Supply chain management and distribution
  • CBD production processing
  • Material Requirements Planning (MRP)

With Sage X3 and NexTec, your cannabis business can stay ahead of the rapidly changing cannabis and hemp industry changes.

Learn more about technology that runs your hemp business.

Sage Platinum Reseller

Farmer looking at a tablet while standing in his field.

Agriculture ERP: Streamline your accounting and inventory reporting

By | Agriculture, ERP | No Comments
Farmer using a tablet while standing in his field.

Technology in agriculture is growing.

Agriculture technology and automation don’t just apply to field operations. Like other industries that have turned their eyes and ears to tech, agriculture companies can enjoy the same benefits of uniting their accounting and inventory reporting in a single platform, called Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), that delivers deeper visibility into the business.

Managing business operations and growing profits are accomplished through a multitude of smaller, complex, interwoven tasks, many of which can be streamlined by shifting away from outdated tools like spreadsheets and fragmented systems in favor of a comprehensive solution.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) in Agriculture

By definition, ERP is a flexible, scalable software solution that unites multiple business activities into a single function. In the agriculture sector, an ERP can provide an anchor point for financial data, inventory management, sales, purchasing, quality and compliance data, labor, and more.

In the agricultural sector, Sage X3 is a leading platform that can accomplish all of the above. Take a look at some of the key reasons why agriculture companies are finding a better way of doing business with Sage X3 agriculture ERP and NexTec:

Provide end-to-end farm management

Rows of crops in a field.

An advanced agriculture ERP simplifies multiple aspects of agriculture operations.

The right ERP has the capacity to manage multiple aspects of farm business operations, including purchasing, contracts, labor, inventory and warehouse management and complex costing and pricing models. It can also provide full end to end traceability including Country of Origin.  Having all the information in one place allows agriculture businesses to optimize and see true costs.

Eliminate resource-draining paper trails

One of the most notable benefits of using an ERP is the fact that many agri-businesses can replace many of their outdated, time-consuming, paper-intensive manual processes with a software solution.

Clunky spreadsheets are inefficient and prone to error, even though they’re still widely used in managing farm operations. But by switching to an agriculture ERP, companies get a centralized, searchable database where they can find and input information quickly and eliminate the costly need to print paper records or make calculations by hand.

Implementation is the key to accelerating and maximizing ROI

On the surface, the benefits of shifting to an agriculture ERP are hard to ignore. However, the key to tapping into the expected benefits is through diligent, well-executed implementation with the help of NexTec. Switching to an agriculture ERP like Sage X3 doesn’t happen overnight, and once your system is set up and ready to use, you’ll also face a learning curve as you learn to work with the software.

Choosing the right implementation partner can have a major impact on what your ERP can help you accomplish, and how quickly your company can start leveraging it to its potential. NexTec specializes in working with agriculture companies to get their Sage X3 ERP operating as smoothly as possible so they can realize a swift, positive ROI. Discover how we can help you grow efficiency in your agricultural business.

Learn More about ERP

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Thank you! – Hemp Cultivation Study

By | Agriculture, Case Studies | No Comments

Thanks for getting in touch

Here’s your copy of the Hemp Cultivation Report.

Download now

About NexTec Group

NexTec Group is a national consulting firm, specializing in technology to help you manage your business. This includes Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Business Intelligence (BI), Cloud and On-premise solutions for mid-sized businesses.

We started the company because, as consultants, we saw software sellers that had never walked a mile in the customers shoes. We had, and knew that we could offer something different. A company made up of consultants that had experience working in the industries that they were now advising.

In the 20+ years that NexTec has been in business, we’ve developed close working relationships with our customers, partners and each other.

Customers choose NexTec because…

  • Our consultants have an average of 25 years’ experience in both consulting and industry.
  • We understand the software, customer challenges, value teamwork, and are passionate about doing great work
  • We provide clear information that helps customers make informed buying decisions
  • We stand by our customers to make sure the technology works, is used, and produces great results
  • We deliver our services with a sense of friendliness, fun, individual pride, and company spirit

If you see the possibilities, let’s meet for lunch, coffee or a drink.

Sage Authorized Partner
Cannabis plants.

Industrial hemp regulations published: Here’s what you need to know

By | Agriculture, ERP, Hemp | No Comments

Cannabis plants.Though the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production of hemp, stakeholders have been operating under some degree of uncertainty due to a lack of USDA regulations. However, on October 29, 2019, the USDA released its interim final rule for domestic hemp production regulations, clarifying certain aspects of hemp production. Production of hemp is legal in 46 states, with Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and South Dakota being the exceptions.

Farmers who grow hemp must be licensed under state or tribal hemp growing programs, or by the USDA. There can be significant differences among states concerning how hemp is grown and sold. States and tribes can have primary regulatory authority over hemp production, with USDA approval.

Granting of licenses for production of hemp will begin November 30, and growers will be required to report their hemp acreage to the Farm Services Agency, so the agency can learn how much hemp is grown, and in what parts of the country.

Testing and proof of acceptable THC levels

The new USDA interim rule clarifies some questions about THC limits (which must remain under 0.3%) and testing of crops. Testing of hemp flower material must be done within 15 days of anticipated crop harvest, though there is still some uncertainty about how testing labs will deal with backlogs. Also uncertain is how the USDA will handle potential increases in THC levels after testing is completed, but before crops are harvested.

DEA-registered labs must be used for crop testing. The USDA’s sampling and testing procedure guidelines were issued in separate documents from the interim rule so that any necessary changes to those specific guidelines can be made more quickly.

Requirements for “hot crops” and criminal background checks

Noncompliant plants or “hot crops” (those with THC levels above 0.3%) must still be disposed of under procedures of the Controlled Substances Act, so hemp farmers will not be able to use them for composting under the interim rule.

As for farmworkers, farmers will be required to complete criminal history reports for “key participants” who have direct financial interest in the business, such as owners and partners. Shift managers, field workers, and the like will not have to submit criminal history reports, and this should ease the problem of hiring farm laborers in a tight labor market.

Interstate shipment of hemp plants

The 2018 farm bill and subsequent USDA memos affirmed states’ and tribes’ rights to regulate the production of hemp within their borders, but states and tribes may not restrict the transportation of hemp within their borders. This is good news for hemp farmers because it grants them easier access to nationwide markets without having to worry about transporting crops through states that still prohibit hemp production.

Comment period ends December 30

The 60-day public comment period for this interim USDA rule ends on December 30, 2019. Members of the public who want to comment on the rule can do so through the portal at regulations.gov. Comments can also be sent by mail or fax to the address and fax number indicated on the Federal Register page for the interim rule.

In October 2021, the interim rule will expire and will be replaced by a final rule. This two-year period will allow enough time for the 2020 growing season to take place so that farmers and public officials can gauge which parts of the rule work well, and which parts may need adjustment.

Agriculture ERP can streamline compliance for hemp production

Agriculture is heavily regulated, and hemp producers will have to follow additional regulations. An outstanding ERP foundation like Sage X3, with added features for agriculture built by NexTec, will be essential for hemp producers to manage their crops and demonstrate traceability. Additionally, NexTec and Sage Business Cloud enable farmers to create flexible quality control programs that incorporate crop testing and workflows.

NexTec and Sage X3 make ideal partners for hemp production. NexTec’s extensive experience in both consulting and the industry, combined with the most experienced Sage X3 team in the industry ensure that customers get the best possible results from their technology investment. Find out how to build your ERP project team.

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Man standing outside looking at his phone with farm icons displaying.

The right ERP addresses these 5 agriculture industry challenges

By | Agriculture, ERP | No Comments
Person outside looking at their phone with farm icons.

Agribusinesses need to address complex operational challenges to remain competitive.

Agriculture businesses are facing increased pressures to keep prices down, combat ongoing geopolitical tariff battles, satisfy evolving customer demands and stay in compliance with increasing regulatory mandates.

To handle these complex challenges, agribusinesses need the right business software solutions. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms that are designed for the agriculture industry can solve many of these challenges. The right ERP addresses these 5 agriculture industry challenges.

1. Managing production efficiently

Coordinating the supply chain, seasons and scheduling of employees and equipment is essential for agricultural efficiency, especially if multiple farms are in play.

The right ERP system gives you functional efficiency at each phase of planning and production, and visibility to:

  • Crops planted
  • Cost capture information
  • Business partners
  • Planting and sowing data
  • Production forecasts and actuals
  • Tasks and employee data

When production needs to be scheduled, NexTec’s Sage X3 agriculture solution provides you with scheduling tools that let you organize resources — machines and people, quantities and segments.

2. Addressing pricing pressures

Commodity prices have been a challenge for many agribusinesses in the past 12 months. Changing trade policies, tariffs and geopolitical gamesmanship have dealt a blow to agricultural business, creating extraordinary uncertain conditions. That’s why businesses are turning to new technologies such as the Internet of Things, automation and blockchain to collect and use more data. Data can be an invaluable asset, not only in improving operations and improving price margins, but also as a commodity that can be leveraged to create new revenue opportunities. With specific functionality for agriculture built on the trusted Sage X3 platform, NexTec gives your business the right tools to collect and use data to relieve pricing pressure.

3. Meeting regulatory demands

With more regulations in play at the federal, state and local levels, it’s more important than ever that agricultural companies have ERP solutions that can track data and keep records for quality and safety. Regulations require companies to have highly detailed systems to track data, trace products and ingredients and provide documentation on demand. With NexTec as your agriculture ERP partner, you have the tools available to manage quality and compliance.

Person holding freshly picked cucumbers.

The right agriculture ERP can fuel efficiency and transparency.

4. Managing supply procurement

Resource management is an important topic. Input prices on water, fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides are increasing and resources, such as water and land are becoming scarcer. Managing resources – from supply chain management to planning to analysis – requires an ERP that can provide the necessary tools.

5. Increasing legalization of hemp

As cannabis products, including hemp, become legal in more and more states, agribusinesses have to assess the viability of entering the business. The demand for cannabis and hemp continues to skyrocket, but is rife with various regulatory and crop-specific needs. Your ERP needs to be able to track the components, yields and regulatory requirements inherent to the cannabis and hemp industry.

NexTec’s agricultural ERP centralizes data and processes in one platform, giving your teams the transparency and versatility that make decision-making better. Manage all aspects of your growing operations, track inventory and equipment, forecast future yields and scale quickly with Sage X3 and NexTec.

NexTec helps companies select, implement and optimize top business software solutions like Sage X3. To learn more, give NexTec and Sage X3 a try.

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