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    API: The Next Step in AgTech and Data Integration

    Posted by FMiD Team on Mar 16, 2020

     

    API: The Next Step in AgTech and Data Integration

    With the rise of Big Data and all the positives that come from it, both farmers and the agribusinesses that serve them want to improve their business processes and workflows through the data available to them.

    Farmers use AgTech to improve their productivity through smarter decisioning. Agribusinesses who also contribute to that productivity will be more effective at getting farmers' attention and, ultimately, closing business.

    But there are some issues that agribusinesses face:

    • Consolidating data from different sources, including grower data, market data and agronomic insights
    • Understanding how to incorporate the full integration of data into their business processes
    • Leveraging the right data integration tools

    One of those data integration tools is an API, or application programming interface. This commonly used program can help users integrate and access the information they need, where they need it.

    What is the Farm Market iD API?

    In a sentence, an API is a language that allows two computers or systems to talk to each other. Users request specific data, and then receive it in a consumable format.

    A helpful analogy is a withdrawal from a checking account. You fill out a withdrawal slip and give it to the bank teller. Once the teller takes that slip, you’re no longer concerned with how that withdrawal is made. All that matters to you is that you receive your money.

    The same is true with our API. You type in your URI into your programming, and our API -- the “bank teller” in this case -- accesses that piece of data for you.  

     

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    Our API is specifically built on REST (representational state transfer), a software architectural style that defines a set of constraints for creating web services. This improves performance when accessing the data through the internet.  

    What types of data are available through the API?

    An API can give you access to all different types of data. In this case, the source system is the Farm Market iD database, which means you can access all the data contained within it.

    APIs stand out among various data integration solutions through the ability  to customize how you pull and use the data. You can call the specific datapoints you need, and ignore those that are irrelevant. 

    So if you need field boundaries and acreage, but really aren’t interested in detailed demographic information on growers, an API sets you up to make those varied requests, and vice versa. Here are some of the categories of data available:

    • Grower information, including name, address, city, state, zip, phone number, email, gender, owner vs. operator status, and more
    • Land owned and operated by a specific grower
    • Field geometry through attributed boundaries
    • Grower relationships by household, business, subsidy payments, phone and land
    • Crop details for both specific growers and specific pieces of land, segmentable by crop year(s)
    • Crop rotation information for a given piece of land
    • Grain bins connected to a specific piece of land
    • Grain bins within a specific search radius
    • Grain points of service, like an elevator, ethanol plant or feedlot within a certain radius of a grower

    Each of these pieces of information can be pulled directly into your applications, allowing you to contextualize them as best suits your specific business needs.

    What are the benefits of using an API for data integration?

    Inertia is one of the biggest challenges to tech adoption. And the only way to truly overcome inertia is to make the user experience as seamless and painless as possible.

    The ultimate value of an API is in automation, efficiency, and a quality user experience. The easier it is for users to utilize the data at their disposal, the better prepared they’ll be to take advantage of that data and utilize it to improve their productivity.

    Through use of an API, you can take third-party data and directly embed it in your existing applications:

    • Pre-fill forms to streamline the customer acquisition process either online or at the point of sale. 
    • Automatically augment your customer records, for instance, including data on field boundaries, crop type, and more -- for use by your internal team.
    • And much more

    Regardless of how you specifically want to use it, an API gives you immediate access to a large and powerful database and the ability to pull that data into your applications, especially if you want to pre-populate fields.

    There’s also the benefit of not having to pre-define the data. Since the API pulls information one record at a time, you only access the data you need when you need it, whether your data volumes are high or low.

    Let’s say that you visit a test plot and need information on that particular grower, maybe it’s someone that previously you weren’t sure would be in your market. You can use the API to automatically pull that information without having to submit additional counts or query requests. 

    When you’re flexible and agile in your data acquisition, and you have a high level of data quality, you limit inefficiencies and increase your overall productivity and ROI.

    The Farm Market iD API will enable agribusinesses to more easily access data and incorporate it into existing applications. For more information on how to access it, click here to contact our team.