Agworld recently acquired all of the assets of Greenbook, a comprehensive database of crop protection labels and information, from Farm Journal.
The move will allow Agworld to complement and expand its current offerings that provide collaborative farm management on a single platform.
“This is going to be a core part of what we do and how we run the Agworld business and the value we provide our customers to power new innovative tools,” said Zach Sheely, president.
Founded in 2009 by Doug Fitch and Matthew Powell, the company started with simple digital tools that allowed farmers, consultants and agronomists to collaboratively manage workflow and record keeping. Having grown up on a San Joaquin Valley farm that produced row crops, grapes and tree nuts, Sheely knew what types of farm management tools growers needed.
From there, Australia-based Agworld expanded to offer the current suite of data management tools that will now include Greenbook’s pesticide label database.
“It is no secret that Agworld has seen very rapid growth in 2019 due to a vast increase in demand from growers and their service providers to utilize their ag data on an independent platform that offers the functionality they need,” Fitch said in a news release. “2020 ushers in a new phase of Agworld’s journey. We have transitioned from a start-up to a recognized and established agribusiness. Strategic acquisitions will form part of our strategy moving forward, whenever they make sense for us and our clients.
“The ag tech landscape is rapidly changing due to large agribusinesses buying ag tech providers. We are bucking the trend by acquiring a business instead of being acquired.”
Currently, Greenbook allows users to look up and compare the labels of more than 10,000 crop protection materials through an online database.
Sheely said they plan to beef up Greenbook’s offerings, particularly on the West Coast and in specialty crop markets because of ever-increasing regulations and compliance mandates.
Not only are growers facing more restrictions and reporting requirements covering crop protection materials, but packers and processors also are having to provide more information to their buyers.
“People are going to want more and more information, more and more traceability through to the producer,” Sheely said. “It’s not relaxing, but there are more opportunities to provide that information with less effort with new technologies.”
At the same time, Agworld doesn’t plan to ignore the crop protection data needs of commodity producers.
As part of the acquisition, the Greenbook staff became Agworld employees for a seamless transition.
Greenook started in 1985 as a hardbound book of pesticide labels. As technology advanced, so did its delivery methods. In 1996, the information became available on CDs, followed by an online database in 1998.
Vance Publishing acquired the Crop Protection Reference, often referred to as Greenbook because of the book’s green cover, from C&P Press in January 2004. Farm Journal acquired Vance in 2015. At the time, Greenbook claimed to be the largest database of agricultural chemicals.