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Software Development Case Study

Minn-Dak Farmers Co-op

Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative was at the point where their current technology was going to be obsolete. They knew they had to do something and turned to Onsharp to help them build a Grower Portal that has given them a fresh start, streamlined data, and increased engagement with their shareholder growers.

Background

Growing Through Innovation

Located in the heart of the Red River Valley, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative was the first sugar beet co-op in the United States and has been a leader in the sugar beet industry since the 1970s. With ownership from over 430 shareholders and another 100 growers, Minn-Dak continues to be a strong supplier in the domestic sweetener industry.

Hear From Minn-Dak

John Wieser, IT Director at Minn-Dak, discusses their decision to start fresh with Onsharp, a company that not only matched their Midwest values but also brought a detail-oriented and industry-savvy approach to the table.

Overcoming Challenges

What Minn-Dak Needed for Success

 

Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative was facing some significant challenges due to outdated technology within their agricultural operations. Their existing system, which was made up of two platforms — a grower information system and a harvest data app — was obsolete and inefficient. These disconnected and outdated systems led to increased manual work for their Agricultural Information Center (AIC) staff, causing delays, and they were at risk of losing critical data. They needed a solution that could join these systems into a single, easy-to-use platform that would modernize their operations and enhance the user experience for their shareholder growers.

“It didn’t seem right to upgrade our two older technologies. It was best to start fresh, clean slate, with something that would be simple for the growers to use, simple for us to use, and that paid off really well,” said John Wieser, IT Director at Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative.

 

A Fresh Start

Minn-Dak wanted a solution to replace two legacy systems that were at end-of-life, and could scale with them into the future.

Streamlined Data

Minn-Dak's shareholder growers wanted easy access to their field and harvest data.


What They Were Looking for In a Partner

When looking for a partner to help them develop a new solution, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative prioritized finding a company with a strong reputation within the ag industry and was looking for one that showed a deep understanding of web development. Another crucial attribute they wanted was a local partner located in the Midwest who shared their Midwest values and showed a hardworking and fun-loving attitude towards projects. Onsharp stood out for its detail-oriented approach and familiarity with the agricultural industry.

“You’re detail-oriented and used to working with companies like us. We explained things the best we could, and your team understood it right off the bat, and sometimes they understood things we didn’t,” John shared. 

 

“You're detail-oriented and used to working with companies like us. We explained things the best we could, and your team understood it right off the bat, and sometimes they understood things we didn’t. "

JOHN WIESER, IT Director at Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative

The Results

The solution developed between Minn-Dak, and Onsharp is a comprehensive and combined grower portal that significantly transformed the cooperative’s operations. It has allowed growers to easily enter field and agronomic data on their own, gain access to harvest information in real-time, and review historical data spanning over two decades. 

This modernization has also increased efficiency, reduced the need for manual data entry, and improved decision-making capabilities for both the cooperative’s staff and the shareholder growers. This project not only met but exceeded expectations by coming in under budget and being completed ahead of schedule. 

“We are just extremely happy with your team and how they picked up the ball and ran. They did exactly what we needed them to do and got it done with plenty of time. We tested and were comfortable on day one, and it worked on day one,” John remarked. 

The grower portal has set a new standard for operational excellence within Minn-Dak, raising expectations and enhancing satisfaction among users and management. The successful implementation of the grower portal has paved the way for future enhancements and integrations, further solidifying the partnership between Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative and Onsharp.

“The project was actually fun. I mean, we actually had fun working on this project,” said John. 

 

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About Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative

 

Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative (MDFC) is a member/owner of two marketing cooperatives, United Sugars Corporation (USC) in Bloomington, Minnesota and Midwest Agri-Commodities (MAC) in San Rafael, California. MDFC markets its sugar through USC, and it markets co-products, including beet molasses and beet pulp pellets, through MAC.

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