Sweetwater County Wyoming: A Case Study
How the Largest County in Wyoming Increased Operation Efficiency, Improved Employee Accountability and Built Customer Trust with AgTerra Products
Sweetwater Wyoming is the largest county in the state with over 10,000 square miles of area to cover. Prior to utilizing AgTerra products, their weed and pest office mapped and treated invasive weed species using hand held GPS devices, paper and pen. In the fall of 2017 they faced increased pressure from the BLM and the Wyoming Forest Division to adopt a complete record keeping system that included digital maps and reports. They investigated and implemented the AgTerra SprayLogger system in 2019 to fulfill their needs and meet program standards. Sweetwater uses these products with backpacks, ATV’s, UTV’s and trucks to automatically map invasive species, follow up with treatments, and finally revisit sites to check the effectiveness of applications.
Sweetwater County Weed and Pest investigated several different hardware and software options to fulfill the requirement for digital maps and reports tracking their activity. The decision to go with AgTerra was heavily influenced to the perceived ease-of-use of the system and the high level of usable reported information. The immediate benefit of the system they discovered was how simple it was to train their crews and fully integrate SprayLogger into their program. Where other systems required advanced training, the SprayLogger system was taught to their crews in just a couple hours and then they begin to work in the field. Additionally, generating the much needed digital maps and reports for the BLM and Division of Forestry now only took minutes, instead of the laborious task of manually creating them from scratch.
“While there are other capable systems on the market, SprayLogger combines an extremely easy to use platform with powerful maps, reports and data I can actually use.” – Dan Matson, Weed Director of Sweetwater County Wyoming
How MapItFast and SprayLogger help manage 10,491 square miles of land in Wyoming
Project Scouting: A supervisor is able to field scout an area ahead of application work, map invasive species, create spray routes and no-spray areas, take pictures, and record notes for various crews using MapItFast.
Job Accountability: When applicators complete job assignments, supervisors are able to double check the work in detail to verify the job was completed to specification and best practices were used.
Customer Satisfaction: Professional digital maps and reports provided to private land owners specifying every detail of a completed job has led to increased trust and more private landowner work.
Insurance: When questioned about spraying activities, including when, where, and what chemicals were used, detailed maps of spray and no-spray activities coupled with reporting showed applicators were operating within expected guidelines and parameters.
Prior to using the AgTerra SprayLogger system a problem Sweetwater County faced was accuracy of information and the ability to work with it. Using GPS handheld devices was cumbersome, time consuming and any collected information had to be manually input into a database. They found GPS tracks were prone to user entry error and could be arbitrary. As a result they were unable to pinpoint exactly when and were application occurred, and chemical details to be incomplete. When SprayLogger was implemented into their program those issue ended overnight.
“I was surprised at how much I enjoyed using MapItFast and SprayLogger. While the user interface is deceptively simple, the level of detail we can capture is amazing. I no longer allow any spray work to be done without AgTerra’s SprayLogger system.” – Dan Matson, Weed Director of Sweetwater County Wyoming
A major benefit Sweetwater discovered but had not anticipated was the ease at which a small group of supervisors could manage multiple and large crews. Utilizing MapItFast, the county weed director could go ahead of the crews on an ATV, motorcycle or use of a drone, and map areas of concern. Additionally, detailed notes and pictures were easily uploaded and sorted into projects for crews to review and act on, all form the field. The dramatic decrease in desk time has enabled supervisors to cover far more ground in the same amount of allotted time as in years past. It has also made work crews more efficient with their time and resources as they are no longer visiting unnecessary areas.
“The information collected has proven invaluable to use on more that a few occasions where others have tried to lay a case against us.” – Dan Matson, Weed Director of Sweetwater County Wyoming
Another unexpected benefit of using the AgTerra SprayLogger system has been improved community relationships. The county is regularly contracted out to do work for private landowners. With the record keeping system provided by AgTerra, not only are customers are impressed with the work done, but the the county has been successful in proving that applications met all lawful requirements. This has kept Sweetwater County Weed and Pest safe from inaccurate claims made against them as they were able to show exactly where and when crews sprayed, and what products were applied.
“I simply can’t imagine our program without AgTerra. The fact that I can call on them and they know my name, my account and I know them make all the difference in the world” – Dan Matson, Weed Director of Sweetwater County Wyoming
Moving forward Sweetwater County has plans to increase their understanding and use of AgTerra products and services to streamline other areas of their operations. They see their partnership with AgTerra as in invaluable tool to help them use tax payer dollars as efficiently as possible.
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