"When we started we didn't have a computer. Then we got one, and it was the greatest thing since apple butter. It's changed more than the implements have changed. But we do all our ordering online right from our own computer in York. We do all our settlements with all of the manufacturers that we deal with, the major ones (that we do any amount of business) we do everything online. They pay us. If we have credits coming back, it's all online. If we sell contracts, if we throw out a contract with a farmer, we send it in electrically. And the next day or two, we get our remittance back electrically. It's changed tremendously. Everything that we do is done with the computer, from ordering the little, smallest part to the biggest one. Everything else. Our service. Or for [technicians]. Rather than going to school you can have the school right on the computer. We still have service schools that we send people to. But what is it going to be ten years from now is what I'd like to know. I hope I'm around to be able to see it."
     [Question:] "You will be. And what about the computers that are on the implements themselves, on the tractors?"
     "They steer them, they calibrate the amount of seed you're putting into the ground, that's on the corn planter. On the tractor, oh gosh, they tell you everything that's going on on the implement that you're pulling. Get into a combine, same story. You just look on your console, it basically tells you the moisture of the corn, the bushels per acre, if you want to map it it tells you where you're getting your biggest yields in the different spots of the field. Then you take that same disc out and when you're putting on fertilizer it puts on heavier fertilizer in the places you need. Amazing, absolutely amazing. If you would have told me that back in 1976, I would have giggled at you. [Laughs.] So, it's changing and it's changing fast. And it's going to continue to."

Jim Ermer – Computers on the Farm


Other Excerpts from Jim Ermer’s Interview:

The Bust of the 80s
Government Subsidies
Jim's Immigrant Parents
Farm Equipment Brands
Tractor Technology
Planter Technology
Harvest Technology
About David Wessels