There’s an app for that: New app to help cultivators track hours, environment
Alex Batteer, a cannabis cultivator and eight-year resident of Nevada County, and Efraín Orozco, were exchanging stories of farm chaos when they came up with the idea for BizBud, a managerial app meant to empower any kind of agricultural worker.
When Batteer ended his litany of loose ends in early 2019, he laughed: “There should be an app for that.”
Three years later, there is.
“There were all these things that I was lacking in — being organized and knowing what was going on,” Batteer explained. “When we sat down and mapped out what we were going to do with it, we tailored it in a way that would make my life easier.”
BizBud is a smartphone app to help farmers track and pay their workers, Batteer said. It works on cellphones so users can access and enter information on site.
To Orozco, the app helps clear the gap between large, corporate operations and smaller farmers by helping log and track hours in an industry with many moving parts.
Orozco was born in Mexico and studied environmental engineering there. He first visited Denver as a result of connections cultivated during his time in the Young Leaders of America Initiative. Orozco’s brother, Diego, invited him to Nevada County for the first time in 2018.
Orozco said the legalization process is similar to a start-up. He has seen many disorganized farmers with the land or lease to cultivate profit, but without the system in place to make it go.
“When you’re in a factory, you have the energy and workers in a closed loop, but when you’re in agriculture, it’s not that easy,” Orozco said. “— Suddenly you have cold weather in a day you weren’t expecting or a late season genetic failure of your strain — a lot of farmers who apply for a license are just not capable of keeping up with the requirements. We provide a tool that facilitates it.”
The app can log the hours of each employee and allows users to distinguish between strains, properties and projects. Eventually, BizBud’s creators hope the app will become a platform by which agricultural cultivators of anything fragrant — edible or inhale-able — can observe and document changes in climate, soil or plant quality.
Before the app’s next iteration comes out — there have been three so far — BizBud’s current purpose is to manage payments for any and all licensed and unlicensed agricultural projects.
The app is flexible on legal status, Orozco said, but may be especially valuable to those still undecided about or mid-pursuit of the legal pipeline.
“I personally think that regulation is necessary and it’s a positive thing for the industry, but it should not exclude these smaller farmers that have been producing and supplying it since the beginning,” Orozco said. “Many of these smaller farmers don’t have the means or the education to get into the whole administrative side to get competitive.”
Orozco said some cultivators choose to avoid the “hassle” of compliance because of the cost and complications hidden within the pursuit.
“In order to be compliant, farmers must understand software like Metro and other tracking systems that from the ground-up require an organization that is structured in a systematic way,“ Orozco said. “Farmers that are not capable — chances are, they won’t be able to to compete with what’s happening in the future.”
Orozco said the app can export project data and hours into a workable Excel sheet, in a digital format business owners and operators can use to file taxes should they choose to do so. This feature is another example of how the app works with the farmer, licensed or unlicensed, and is not in competition with other growing apps.
“One of the reasons the black market is still thriving is the process of having the time card become regulated,” Orozco said of the demanding process of transitioning. “Our tool does not compete with the software based on deregulation. It’s complementary to the farmer.”
All information shared on BizBud remains private, whether the project involve apples, strawberries or the Birthday Cake strain of cannabis flower, Orozco said. The app’s designers chose to use an encrypted server called Amazon Web Services.
The app has already helped some farmers gain better control.
“I can have information about my business immediately and in the palm of my hands, without all the complicated set up processes other similar solutions require,” said Nevada County farmer Itamar Cohen.
Orozco said there is a paid and free version of the app. As expected, the free version includes advertisements, but does not require any sort of registration to begin logging hours and projects.
After troubleshooting over the last year, BizBud does what it needs to do, Orozco said.
Orozco said he believes the app can help generate financial support for projects more directly oriented toward protecting the environment.
“The California-based company can raise capital in a booming industry,” Orozco said. “Eventually we’ll be able to provide a swath of environmental analytics.”
Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
If the cannabis market — legal and illicit — was looking risky before, the industry’s countenance is now straight hostile.