The latest winner of the Iowa Farm Bureau Renew Rural Iowa (RRIA) Entrepreneur award is using the latest technology to help farmers accomplish their conservation and production goals.
Labre Crop Consulting of Manson, started by Calhoun County farmers Brent and LuAnn Johnson, is a crop consulting and data management business that helps farmers do everything from assessing the efficiency of fertilizer applications on their fields to improving soil and watershed conservation.
Started in 2006, Labre uses GPS technology, soil sampling and drone-gathered imaging to make highly detailed, custom recommendations for farmers.
"We started by working a lot of telematics and different things to transfer information we gathered from farm operations and remote sensing equipment to help farmers make the best decisions for their farms," says Brent Johnson. The company is now using drone technology to conduct field assessments and collect high-resolution field images that can identify individual plants.
Labre has grown from a start-up company to its current size of nine full-time and 10 seasonal employees. Calhoun County Economic Development executive director Pam Anderson says that kind of success benefits the entire area. "We don’t have a lot of industries here in Calhoun County, so small businesses make up a lot of our economy. Keeping our young people local is important because we want them to stay around and work and raise their families here. Labre is helping us do that," she says.