The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is seeking participants for an update to their Agricultural Tractor and Mobile Equipment Survey. For those that remember, CARB conducted a similar survey in 2008, and partnered with Cal Poly in their review of the submitted surveys.
This survey effort is looking to inventory various mobile agricultural equipment, including tractors, combines, balers, agricultural use ATVs and forklifts, and many more. This survey is extended out to producers in the field, custom operators, and first processing facilities, and covers equipment using any type of fuel or electricity and any horsepower. Responses to the survey are completely confidential and are anonymized upon receipt.
The survey that was previously conducted in 2008 was utilized to help fund incentive programs for agricultural equipment turnover programs utilized throughout the state. CARB’s goal upon completion of this upcoming survey round is to utilize the data in the exact same manor, to utilize results to determine the best usage of incentive monies in the agricultural sector.
The survey is being made available through the internet. Please follow the link attached below to complete the survey. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Paper copies will be available if you would like; feel free to contact Chris McGlothlin with the Western Agricultural Processors Association at email@example.com or by phone at (559) 455-9272.
Safety is very important, especially when working with heavy machinery. As most farm accidents and fatalities involve machinery, farm safety begins with educating and preparing workers for emergency situations, and making them aware of hazards. California Ag Today interviewed Paul Williams, a senior loss prevention consultant with the State Compensation Insurance Fund, regarding nut harvest safety.
“The hazards are primarily with walnuts and almonds. They tend to stir up more dust in the harvest process,” Williams said. “There are respiratory issues that employees need to be protected from.”
“There’s also a need for hearing protection with any type of farm equipment. A lot of times, you’re sitting there all day at elevated levels of noise – there’s potential for hearing loss. Hearing loss is often overlooked because it’s slow acting, but it can have a huge effect on workers lives down the road,” Williams explained. “It’s important to be aware of it as a factor, and we talking about it as one season, probably not going to be any noticeable … you do that for 20 and 30 seasons, and you’re not able to understand your grandchildren when they talk to you. It’s one of those things that sneaks up on you.”
Williams said there are also a lot of safety issues with farm equipment and transportation. “You’re driving a slow-moving vehicle down a county road at 10 miles an hour, and you’ve got impatient drivers who want to pass you. Many drivers are not paying attention at all and they rear-end your equipment,” Williams said. That happened in Kingsburg a couple weeks ago.
This is always a danger whenever you’re transporting harvesting equipment or any kind of farm equipment on a county road. “It’s always nice if you have a pilot car; it’s always nice if you have a truck behind with their flashers on, trying to control traffic and periodically being a good neighbor and pulling over and letting traffic get by you when that’s possible,” Williams said.
Jeff Dema: MachineryLink—the Airbnb of Agriculture
By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor
Agriculture, like any other industry, is constantly growing and developing to increase productivity, efficiency, sustainability and profitability.Jeff Dema, president of FarmLink, said his company has created a new program called MachineryLink Sharing that enables farmers to rent equipment that may be too costly for them to purchase outright from fellow farmers who own the equipment.
MachineryLink Solutions, created 15 years ago by FarmLink, a data science and technology company that aims to help create and support a long-term, sustainable global food system by seeking opportunities for advanced analytics and modern technology, offers quality equipment at a fraction of the cost of ownership. This new feature, “MachineryLink Sharing, is really the Airbnb* for agriculture,” Dema said. “You can think about it as the industry’s first online internet-based platform that allows owners of equipment and users of equipment to transact and share equipment.” Dema said the program helps solve the issue of farmers receiving limited returns on equipment investments.
“Equipment and machinery represents a significant portion of the farmer’s cost-structure,” Dema said. “In fact, 41 percent of non-land production costs are tied up typically in machinery and equipment. This provides farmers an opportunity to access equipment without having to deploy mass sums of capital to buy their equipment. The USDA tells us that farmers have $244 billion worth of equipment and machinery tied up in those assets,” he explained, “and the utilization rates are minuscule. The average asset turnover ratio for farmers is 0.34, which means for every dollar a farmer has tied up in assets, he or she is generating 34 cents worth of revenue—a very low asset utilization level. This service addresses that economic challenge.”
Aside from MachineryLink, FarmLink offers growers two additional ways to optimize their success and profitability. More than five years ago, FarmLink began to collect data to build an analytics platform that accelerates the pace of data-driven insights and innovation in agriculture. “The result,” Dema stated, “TrueHarvest, is a data-analytics platform that helps farmers benchmark their yield performance—the first and only independent yield benchmark service for agronomic effectiveness available. By using actionable data to compare each field, down to the 150 square foot area called a micro-field, growers can easily uncover yield improvement opportunities and make better input and management decisions.”
TrueHarvest, according to the FarmLink website enables each farmer to:
Validate input, resource allocation and farming practice decisions
Measure the year-over-year results of farming practice changes, including seed and fertilizer choices, regardless of the weather conditions
Make in-season changes and planning decisions for next year’s crop
Determine which areas of your fields have more or less potential
Determine revenue improvement opportunities
Lastly, Demo said, At FarmLink, we help with risk management as well to help buy and sell the materials that farmers buy and sell.”
 Founded in 2008 and based in San Francisco, Calif., Airbnb, according to its website, is a community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone or tablet. Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries. Airbnb claims to be the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.
 To benchmark = Objectively validate the impact of input variables to optimize production, profitability and sustainability
 FarmLink is independent in that it does not sell seed, equipment, fertilizer or crop chemicals.