Tim Norris: Launching RTK Network

Tim Norris

For Tim Norris, it seems like a perfectly logical progression.

When we first visited Norris in the fall of 2003, he was heading up a precision consulting division of an Ohio cooperative, helping grower-clients of the company discover the benefits of high-technology agriculture. At the same time, he himself was discovering the potential of automatic steering as an efficiency building tool on the Miller Farm, a particularly ambitious operation run by brothers Fred and Tom Miller.

After switching to Trimble’s Autopilot system and spending a year working with the high-accuracy real-time kinematic (RTK) steering system, and doing some career soul-searching, Norris decided two things — to strike out on his own as a consulting company, and to delve deeper into the business possibilities of automatic steering.

The result was a very busy 2005 for Norris. He first formed his new consulting company called Agronomic Information Technologies, or AgInfoTech, in May.

“I really wanted to be totally focused on and devoted to precision agriculture,” says Norris. “At the branch, you are always getting pulled away from what your area is — it’s the nature of ag. I wanted to spend more time doing what I needed to do and I was often getting interrupted. Now I can focus, react quickly to customers, and look at new ideas that I never could at the co-op.”

Norris is an Ag Leader master service dealer, as well as a dealer for the Trimble Autopilot system, both of which came with him from Central Ohio Farmers Co-op, his former employer. His current client list includes a number of progressive growers he works with directly. He also is contracted with retailer Morral Companies to provide them with precision agriculture services and products, and provides consulting for Town and Country Co-op where he works with sales people and acts as the go-to precision guy.

AgInfoTech utilizes SST’s Summit and Stratus products for field data collection, and data management. Shape files are exported to MapShots’ EASiSuite. “The batch functions are pretty powerful,” says Norris. “It seems to be speeding up my data processing time. Another nice feature is I can export maps in PDF format, allowing growers to electronically view fields more easily.”

Tower Of Power

Starting a consulting business was one thing, but just three months later Norris embarked on yet another new endeavor. Believing that more growers would get involved in RTK steering if given a simpler and more cost-effective adoption path, he formed a new corporation to develop an RTK tower network.

Called Central Ohio RTK Network Inc., or C.O.R.N., Norris and seven member-owners are investing in the construction of a seven-tower network that will cover parts of five counties just north of Columbus.

It took a team effort to get the project off the ground. Norris relied heavily on the regional Trimble distributor, Daugherty Companies, to determine the best set-up for the towers. Meanwhile, Norris worked to get the participating investors on board.

“Ownership in the company is based on the amount you put in,” says Norris. “One person might do two bases, and another person a repeater depending on what is needed at that location. And once it is up and running, they will be able to share equipment. So as they travel into another person’s area, they can share that base.”

From start to finish the network will be completed relatively quickly — two towers are already up, two more were expected to be completed by the end of October, and all seven towers were to be up by Thanksgiving. Then, with all the bases up and running, the signals are sent out and the search for signal dead spots will ensue. Where fill-in signals are needed, repeaters are added to strengthen the signal.

One factor immediately on Norris’ side is the local terrain. The service area anticipated when all is said and done is largely flat. “It would be a lot more difficult to move this system east of where we are now,” says Norris. “This is probably as far as we can go out and still be cost effective.”

Once things are up and running, the next step will be offering and marketing subscriptions to locals in the coverage area. They are still deciding on pricing and terms, but expect the cost to run from $1,500 to $2,000 per year annually, depending on terms. “If someone commits to more than one year or multiple vehicles, the price would go down,” says Norris.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the Winter 2005 issue of PrecisionAg Special Reports.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Data Management Stories
Google-Earth-Map-featured-image
Data ManagementRainfall Revisited: Accurate Observations and Beyond
September 18, 2018
As a provider of weather analysis and forecast services to the agricultural industry, one of the most common questions I Read More
Soil-Hand
Data ManagementAre You Using Your Soil to Its Full Potential?
September 14, 2018
Harvest is progressing across most parts of the U.S. and those growers who aren’t already harvesting are gearing up to Read More
Tablet Grower
Data ManagementThe Power of Predictive Analytics in Agriculture
September 5, 2018
Years ago if we would have been told computers, data, and technology would be scattered around every farm there may Read More
AmericasOn The Scene: 2018 Farm Progress Show Wrap Up
September 5, 2018
Former Monsanto President (now Bayer CropScience Chief Operating Office) Brett Begemann’s opening salvo during his first appearance at a Farm Read More
Trending Articles
Soil-Hand
Data ManagementAre You Using Your Soil to Its Full Potential?
September 14, 2018
Harvest is progressing across most parts of the U.S. and those growers who aren’t already harvesting are gearing up to Read More
Grower-Retailer
Imagery/SensingAgtech: 10 Things I Hate About You!
September 4, 2018
Before you get bent out of shape from the title, remember if you’ve read my articles before you know I Read More
Kansas State University
Industry NewsKansas State University, Topcon Form Precision Ag Research Partnership
August 30, 2018
Kansas State University and Topcon Agriculture are collaborating to develop tools and systems to advance precision agriculture and support farmers. Read More
Blockchain building block graphic
Specialty CropsIs Blockchain the Future of Food Safety?
August 24, 2018
When the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) was standardized in 1982, permitting the worldwide proliferation of interconnected networks and eventually the Read More
WinField’s Joel Wipperfurth On Empowering Data-Driven Decisions
InfoAg ConferenceOne on One with Joel Wipperfurth, Winfield United
August 15, 2018
Winfield United's Joel Wipperfurth discusses ag technology trends and topics during last month’s InfoAg Conference. Read More
Geosys
Industry NewsUrtheCast to Acquire Geosys from Land O’Lakes in $20 Million Deal
August 15, 2018
UrtheCast Corp. and Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced they have entered a binding term sheet for the purchase of Geosys Read More
Latest News
Business ManagementIvy Tech, Farmers Partner to Help Precision Ag Educatio…
September 20, 2018
Harvest time has taken on a new meaning for some Wabash Valley farmers, and Bobbi Hunt-Kincaid hopes her family’s first Read More
Sensors
Sensors/IoTThe Answer to Agriculture’s Daunting Challenges – Soil …
September 20, 2018
According to the United Nations, 9.6 billion people will live on planet Earth by 2050. Feeding these mouths will require Read More
Google-Earth-Map-featured-image
Data ManagementRainfall Revisited: Accurate Observations and Beyond
September 18, 2018
As a provider of weather analysis and forecast services to the agricultural industry, one of the most common questions I Read More
PenelopeNagel
Business ManagementWhy Is Funding a Challenge for Women-Led Agtech Compani…
September 17, 2018
When it comes to women-led agtech companies the funding discussion never seems to cease. In June after the The New Read More
Mobile Phone in field
Decision Support SoftwareWhy Are 570 Million Farmers Not Yet Using Agricultural …
September 17, 2018
Until recently, using agricultural apps and software was a rare practice among growers. This is now changing. The mass adoption Read More
Soil-Hand
Data ManagementAre You Using Your Soil to Its Full Potential?
September 14, 2018
Harvest is progressing across most parts of the U.S. and those growers who aren’t already harvesting are gearing up to Read More
Grower Services & SolutionsDeere-Granular Collaboration Produces New Profit Maps T…
September 14, 2018
The newest development from the ongoing John Deere-Granular product development and marketing collaboration is Profit Maps, now available to farmers Read More
Wingtra
DronesOpinion: Combining Two Pluses with the WingtraOne UAV
September 13, 2018
For the every-day consumer interested in UAVs, there is an ocean of products from which to choose. This includes the Read More
Farmer-tablet
AsiaShould Agri-Input Manufacturers Outsource E-Commerce to…
September 12, 2018
Editor’s note: Venky Ramachandran is a contributing writer for PrecisionAg.com’s sister site, AgriBusinessGlobal.com. This article was originally published on LinkedIn. Now, Read More
ICON-Link-Licensing_featured-image
Industry NewsValley Irrigation Adds Remote Irrigation Management Opt…
September 11, 2018
Valley Irrigation, an industry leader in smart irrigation solutions, has announced enhancements to its remote management technologies. Multi-Year Licensing In Read More
Reflex-Connect-Agri-Inject-featured-image
Variable Rate ApplicationVariable Rate Fertigation System Expands with Mobile Co…
September 10, 2018
Building on the success of its Reflex Variable Rate Fertigation system, Agri-Inject has taken fluid injection to the next level Read More
Industry NewsTeralytic Earns Ag Data Transparent Certification
September 10, 2018
Soil analytics company Teralytic has completed the Ag Data Transparent certification, affirming that their data use is private, secure, and Read More
Business ManagementTop 20 Two-Year Colleges for Precision Agriculture
September 10, 2018
Earlier this year, I compiled a list of the 25 best colleges for precision agriculture. It was quite the process. Read More
Industry NewsRaven, Topcon Announce Slingshot API Agreement
September 6, 2018
Raven Industries and Topcon Agriculture announced today a licensing agreement for Topcon Agriculture’s use of the Slingshot Application Programming Interface Read More
Tablet Grower
Data ManagementThe Power of Predictive Analytics in Agriculture
September 5, 2018
Years ago if we would have been told computers, data, and technology would be scattered around every farm there may Read More
DronessenseFly Launches eBee X Drone, Breaks Through 1,000 ac…
September 5, 2018
senseFly today reportedly sets a new standard in mapping tools with the launch of the eBee X. Launched with the Read More
AmericasOn The Scene: 2018 Farm Progress Show Wrap Up
September 5, 2018
Former Monsanto President (now Bayer CropScience Chief Operating Office) Brett Begemann’s opening salvo during his first appearance at a Farm Read More
EventsAg Experts Discuss Big Data Challenges in Agriculture
September 5, 2018
Agricultural experts at a Houston conference praised the advancements in unmanned aerial vehicles, sensors, and data-collecting technology used in precision Read More