SDN Blog

SDN member co-ops team up to promote smart farm services

Posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2015 in Member Communities

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Smart Farm Technologies

The spread of fiber optic connectivity is making farms and ranches in rural South Dakota smarter than ever.

Advancements in broadband technology allow farmers to remotely monitor how much grain is in a bin, for example, or check on how much water remains in a livestock tank.

Producers can monitor the temperature inside a livestock barn that’s miles away or advise a partner who is helping cows deliver calves in the middle of the night.

Images from security cameras can be checked on any kind of connected device to help keep scattered farm buildings safe from intruders.

Midstate Communications and Santel Communications are working together this week to show off some of the smart farm tools available to farmers and ranchers. They are sharing a booth at Dakotafest in Mitchell, S.D. to features products and services available through their business relationship with Clear2there, an innovative, national vendor that provides high-quality automation products for businesses and institutions as well as homes.

Dakotafest is one of the biggest and most important ag shows in the region, according to Samantha Castro, the marketing manager for the show, which is managed by IDEAg Group LLC. The show typically attracts about 30,000 people during its three-day run.

This year’s show was scheduled to run Aug. 18-20 at the Schlaffman Farm near Mitchell.  Unfortunately, the Aug. 18 session had to be closed because of lightning. The show is scheduled to resume Aug. 19-20. The attractions include 550 exhibitors.

Midstate and Santel are both members of Sioux Falls-based SDN Communications, which is owned by 17 telecommunications companies that serve 80 percent of South Dakota’s land mass. Midstate and Santel are cooperatives that each serve homes and businesses in the Mitchell region with phone, Internet and TV services. Midstate is based in Kimball and Santel is based in Woonsocket.

In addition to Woonsocket, Santel offers telecom services to people in Alpena, Artesian, Ethan, Forestburg, Letcher, Mount Vernon, Parkston, Tripp, and Wolsey.

In addition to Kimball, Midstate serves the communities of Fort Thompson, Chamberlain, Oacoma, Pukwana, White Lake, Stickney, Platte, Geddes, New Holland, Delmont, Academy and Gann Valley.

Representatives from both of the cooperatives and Clear2there will be at Dakotafest booth 427E to demonstrate farm-automation products and services. They’ll have tank-monitoring equipment, surveillance cameras and remote door-locking systems all on display.

“Both Midstate and Santel have made great strides to take fiber to the farm. The reason we did this is so that people who live in rural areas can have this type of technology available to them,” says Chad Mutziger, marketing manager for Midstate.

Clear2there products remain a relatively new offering for the two companies, Mutziger says, but “we’re finding more and more of a market for it.”

The line of smart farm technology allows ag customers to monitor all aspects of their farming or ranching operation at any time and from anywhere. All users need is to use the equipment is a connected device, such as a smartphone, tablet computer or desktop computer. Watch the video below to see how a farmer in Iowa is using the technology

Connecting smart farm products and users requires reliable, broadband connectivity. So Midstate, Santel and other companies that provide telecommunications services are playing a key role in the popularization of the smart farm technology.

As the use of automation products spreads across South Dakota, SDN member companies also will play an important role helping clients keep their networks secure.