There are two things you need to make your farm go paperless – a killer scanner and a Dropbox account.
Dino Giacomazzi, dairy producer and technology guru, says his farm has grown in efficiency by having all of his documents in one place on Dropbox. Shared folders allow people to work together on the same projects and documents. You can invite friends, family or teammates to a folder.
"It’s as if you saved the folder to their computers," Giacomazzi says. He spoke today at the 3rd annual Executive Women in Agriculture conference in Chicago.
But first you need a really good scanner. Giacomazzi recommends the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner for PC or Mac, which sells from about $400.
On his farm, when bills come in mail, they go into an inbox and then go in the scanner. Once they are scanned in, the documents are filed in Dropbox. "Today, we don’t have to file any papers in folder. Everything that comes in is tagged and gets filed for characters and can be found based on farm or fields," Giacomazzi says.
One of the other great features of Dropbox is that you can share with other people. Giacomazzi shares his Dropbox with his dairy nutritionist, dairy testing company, his veterinarian. "So when my dairy nutritionist comes to the farm and writes a new recommendation he can put it in Dropbox and everyone can see it," he says.
Answering a question from an attendees about security, Giacomazzi says the weakest link in your security chain is you. "Do not give anyone any information who calls you, and make sure you have a strong password," he says. DropBox has military grade encryption.
Other benefits of Dropbox:
- Any file you save to Dropbox also instantly saves to your computers, phones, and the Dropbox website.
- Starting at 2 GB for free and up to 16 GB with referrals.
- Pro accounts with up to 500 GB. Business accounts start at 1 TB for 5 users.
- Your files are always available from the secure Dropbox website.
- Dropbox works with Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.
- Works even when offline. You always have your files, whether or not you have a connection.
- Dropbox transfers just the parts of a file that change (not the whole thing).
- Manually set bandwidth limits -- Dropbox won't hog your connection.
Read: Dino Giacomazzi's Guide to Strong Passwords