In the age of advanced technology and the smartphone revolution, there’s an app for everything. I bank from my phone, I pay bills from my phone, I can even track each step I take every day on my phone—and it might even surprise you that most of my operations as a contract poultry farmer can be monitored with the touch of a button.
I know what you’re probably thinking; a poultry farmer isn’t the first image that pops into your head when you think about jobs that rely on technology, but when it comes to the well-being of the chickens entrusted to my care—making sure they thrive at the correct temperature, making sure the lighting is just right to keep them comfortable, and making sure they have exactly enough feed and water at all life stages—there’s a precise science behind it all.
For roughly 15 years, we’ve had the technology to control many aspects of our chicken houses remotely. So, when Tyson formed the Poultry Farmer Advisory Panel, a group of six farmers who were tapped to provide candid feedback in order to enhance communications and transparency, one of our asks was simple: we want an app for that.
And that’s how the Farmer Connect App was born.
The Farmer Connect App was conceptualized by farmers, for farmers, to make our jobs easier and to keep the lines of communication open with Tyson.
In case you’re not familiar with the term “contract farmer,” I’ll give you a little background: Tyson Foods’ chicken farmers are independent contractors, not employees of the company. Tyson supplies the birds, their feed and technical advice or assistance (through service techs), while we provide the labor, housing, utilities and land to raise the birds.
The Farmer Connect App is truly a game-changer for us and is a testament to Tyson’s commitment to listen to and grow with contract farmers. The app is already being used in three contract poultry complexes and will be rolled out to all complexes over the next several months.
Farmers and service techs can work together to register and use the app, which includes features such as:
- Notifications to see when feed deliveries are scheduled for your farm
- Notifications when your birds are scheduled to be picked up
- Notifications when your birds have been weighed
- Cumulative totals of bird weights and feed consumption
- Risk of disease notifications based on geography
- Tyson News Feed (fed directly from www.FarmWithTyson.com)
The Butler family
My dad, two brothers and I work together, and as third and fourth generation farmers, I think it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about the industry; in 1935, my great-grandparents built large-scale poultry houses that are still in our family today.
We’ve been using the Farmer Connect App for 10 months, and since then, I’ve noticed an outstanding effort by Tyson and their tech team to ensure that information provided via the app is timely and accurate.
For me, the app also provides peace of mind. Everything is tracked in one place, and I can use the app as a reference if I need to go back and look at specific dates or times, or double check our numbers. The news feed is a nice added bonus, because I can keep up-to-date with interesting stories happening around Tyson, especially when it comes to the poultry business.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the future of the poultry business and the success of contract poultry growers will rely heavily on the evolution of new technology, and it’s exciting to see Tyson on the cutting edge of this research and development.