Pixo's eye-opening visit to Maple Farms

Seeing generational shifts and technological challenges firsthand from a Midwestern family farm's perspective.
Two images in a frame. First image: two people standing inside a barn smiling and looking off camera. second image: a wide shot of an outdoor farm area with silos, people walking, and a white machine shed on a misty, foggy day.

How did this field trip come about anyway?

Before delving into our insightful visit, let’s take a moment to understand the connection between our team and the fine folks at Maple Farms. At Pixo, we’re honored to be known for our cutting-edge technological solutions across various industries, including agriculture. Our tools and expertise bring a fresh perspective to help solve problems of efficiency and agriculture by incorporating modern software solutions. Family is everything in the agriculture space (and here at Pixo!), so when Scott Maple, the cousin of Pixo’s CEO Melinda Miller, invited us for a visit, we jumped at the chance to marry the brains behind what we do and the heart behind why we do it. 

While Maple Farms is deeply rooted in tradition, their team is all about evolution. Their outlook epitomizes the blend of old-school wisdom and modern techniques in farming, making it the perfect place for the Pixo team to spend some time. 

Maple Farms is located in Kokomo, Indiana. In addition to specialty crop production and commercial grain farming, their second company, Maple Drainage, offers custom tile ditching and excavation services. Melinda grew up visiting the farm on holidays when her uncles ran the operation, and now she enjoys seeing her cousins and second cousins in charge.

A man showing a group of people a piece of farming equipment inside a machine shed.

5 key takeaways from Pixo’s visit to Maple Farms

Melinda, Danielle Hendricks, Pixo’s Director of Business Development, and Pixo’s Creative Director, Lyndsey Groth, are country girls at heart, which made their recent visit to Maple Farms all the better. Here are 5 key takeaways from their trip.

Takeaway 1: Generational Differences: Are they as pronounced as we’ve been led to believe?

Contrary to common stereotypes, Gen X and Boomers at Maple Farms are not averse to technology whatsoever. In fact, they are early adopters, having invested in digital tech as far back as GPS data in the ’90s. As technology continues to advance, they face a dilemma familiar to many in the ag space: prioritizing spending their time farming vs. learning and adapting to digital tools. The Maples make measured decisions about what does and doesn’t make them more efficient.

Takeaway 2: Don’t underestimate the mechanical + technological balance.

One thing the team at Maple Farms modeled spectacularly is the balance between mechanical know-how and the implementation of technology. A mix between good old-fashioned mechanical expertise and technical know-how of modern methods is indispensable. Everyone’s knowledge has an important part to play on the farm!

Takeaway 3: Staying ahead of organizational challenges is key.

With the sunsetting of a critical piece of ag software on the horizon, Maple Farms grapples with the uncertainty of when to invest money and time in new software and when to keep their data flexible and accessible in Excel spreadsheets. Managing data is always a significant organizational challenge that the Maple team knows they have to stay on top of. 

Takeaway 4: Environmental concerns are an ever-present reality.

Despite their commitment to environmental stewardship, operations like Maple Farms face dilemmas such as diesel engine emissions and the trade-off between environmental conservation and increased maintenance costs.

Takeaway 5: Multiple types of data are at play for any farming operation.

A dichotomy between two types of data is notable: analysis data for future insights and management data crucial for day-to-day operations. While the former fuels innovation, the latter forms the backbone of farm management.

Staying Solutions Minded

Person writing in notebook at table with three other people

Above all, both Pixo and Maple Farms believe in the importance of relationships. The best way to accomplish each of our goals is to foster a community of learning where insights are shared and experiences are valued! The future of agriculture is not solitary, but a collaborative effort bridging generations, technologies, and thought processes. We’re honored to have had the opportunity to visit their operation.

Are you ready to put the Pixo team to work on the problems you face? Learn more about our services and solutions or reach out with more details about your project’s needs!