Sweetwater County, WY

How the Largest County in Wyoming Increased Operation Efficiency, Improved Employee Accountability and Built Customer Trust with AgTerra Products

Sweetwater County uses SprayLogger Backpack Lite to map and report field applications in remote areas.

Sweetwater County is Wyoming’s largest county, with over 10,000 square miles of open area. Prior to utilizing AgTerra products, Sweetwater County Weed and Pest mapped and treated invasive weed species using handheld 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 implemented AgTerra’s SprayLogger system in 2019 as their chosen tool to to fulfill their needs and meet program standards.

Sweetwater uses SprayLogger 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.

“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 Madsen, Weed Director of Sweetwater County Wyoming

Prior to choosing SprayLogger, Sweetwater 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 by the ease-of-use of the system and the high level of usable reported information.

They immediately discovered how simple it was to train their crews and fully integrate SprayLogger into their program. Where other systems required advanced training, the SprayLogger system could be taught to their crews in just a couple hours and they could begin working in the field the same day.

Additionally, generating the much needed digital maps and reports for the BLM and Division of Forestry now took only minutes. Previously, this had involved the laborious task of manually creating reports 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 Madsen, Weed Director of Sweetwater County Wyoming

Sweetwater County had run into the common problem of accurately recording information from the field in a way that made it easy to work with back in the office. Using GPS handheld devices was cumbersome and 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 where application occurred or even details about the chemicals that were applied. When SprayLogger was implemented into their program, those issue ended overnight.

“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 Madsen, Weed Director of Sweetwater County Wyoming

An unexpected benefit of using the AgTerra SprayLogger system was how it has improved their 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 impressed with the work done, but the county has been successful in proving that applications meet 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.

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: Detailed maps of spray and no-spray activities coupled with automated reports of application areas and chemical use allowed Sweetwater County to demonstrate that crews were operating within USFS and BLM guidelines and parameters.

“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 Madsen, Weed Director of Sweetwater County Wyoming

Sweetwater County uses SprayLogger E3B units to record spray applications with their UTV and truck fleet.

Sweetwater also discovered that with AgTerra’s products in hand, a small group of supervisors could manage multiple, large crews. Utilizing MapItFast, the county weed director could go ahead of the crews on an ATV, or fly a drone, and map areas of concern.

Additionally, detailed notes and pictures could be easily uploaded and sorted into projects for crews to review and act on, all from the field.

The dramatic decrease in desk time has enabled supervisors to cover far more ground in the same amount of 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.

Moving forward Sweetwater County has plans to increase their understanding and of AgTerra products and dig deeper into their functionality. They have exciting ideas for ways to further 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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For well over a decade AgTerra has enabled natural resource professionals to simplify data collection and reporting while delivering greater value to their customers.  How can we help you?  Contact us today for a FREE demo and let us help you learn how easy and affordable our technology can be for your workforce and operations.

RWC, Inc.

RWC Incorporated is a privately held vegetation management company that operates primarily within the railroad vegetation control industry. Under the same management and ownership since its inception in 1961, RWC has continuously provided the railroad industry with quality vegetation management services. The company uses AgTerra products with state-of-the-art equipment and delivery systems combined with high quality herbicide formulations to provide results that keep customers satisfied in an increasingly challenging application field.

 In 2016, the company learned that in order to bid on a certain contract, they needed to have GPS- and GIS-capable mapping system. Without it, they would not even be considered for the contract. At the time, the company was not using GPS to map their applications. They had control units that were capable of GPS mapping, but they did not have an interface that allowed their operators to easily map while spraying.  Any spatial information they were able to get had to be manually downloaded and additional work had to be done on the “back end” to produce usable maps. RWC reached out to AgTerra for a solution. With the implementation of MapItFast software and SprayLogger hardware, they were not only able to win the contract but exceed customer expectations over the next three years. Additionally, RWC was able use the growing technology to better manage their internal operations.

 “[AgTerra] has provided us with a useful tool for project management and record-keeping, and we’ve been able to share these capabilities with our customers.” – Jeff Osburn, Owner of RWC

   RWC has continued to explore the capabilities of the SprayLogger system and implemented it into their operations. The entire RWC fleet of rail-bound vehicles is equipped with the SprayLogger and MapItFast system. These products have helped RWC become more efficient in locating and documenting treatment areas, as well as tracking and illustrating work progress. Field personnel are able to stay on task because the information is available at their fingertips on a mobile device.

 The company’s fleet of off-track equipment uses the MapItFast app to record many different types of information related to spray application. All of the data they capture using AgTerra’s products is compiled internally and allows them great flexibility in creating custom maps and databases. These serve as a great reference source when tracking current work progress and planning future site visits and applications.

“We are continuously finding new ways to incorporate the powerful capabilities of GIS/GPS into our operations, and AgTerra’s products have been an important part in helping us achieve that.” – Jeff Osburn, Owner of RWC

How has MapItFast and SprayLogger helped streamline everyday workflow for RWC?

  • Project Assignment: RWC operators can now open their mobile device and load all off-track locations that need to be sprayed in a certain area.
  • Job Accountability: When operators spray road crossings, they can drop a pin and snap a picture to document completed work.
  • Easy Administration: Administrators can monitor ongoing spray jobs and make notes of sensitive areas or no spray zones for future applications.
  • Instant Reporting: For on-rail applications, RWC can provide customers with a real-time map showing the current progress in a certain area or across the whole railroad.
  • Export to GIS: RWC can export jobs in GIS formats, including shapefiles.
Precise spray and no-spray application mapping is monitored by applicators in real-time.

Since implementing MapItFast and SprayLogger for spray applications and mapping, the company has received nothing but positive feedback from customers.  Multiple customers have even said that the information provided by AgTerra products has certainly influenced decision makers in awarding business to RWC by showing that the company is committed to providing the most comprehensive spray application service around.

  “One of the greatest benefits of working with a company like AgTerra is the ability to have our issues and concerns heard and dealt with in a timely and personal manner.” – Jeff Osburn, Owner of RWC

Three Peaks Real Estate

From Crop Scouting to House Hunting, Strider goes everywhere

Do we have a “typical customer?” While a majority of our customers work in the natural resource industry, not everyone follows this norm. AgTerra takes pride in developing flexible products that fit into just about any role in any company. One such example is KW Three Peaks in Sheridan, Wyoming.

KW Three Peaks is a real estate agency owned and operated by real estate broker Bill Rapp. In 2015, Rapp was looking for a product that would help keep his client information organized and easily accessible in electronic format. AgTerra’s Strider product fit the bill.

With the help of fellow realtor Anne Feil, Rapp developed an arsenal of digital forms to document every step of his clients’ home buying and selling process. “We wanted reports that could auto-fill as well as forms that were easily accessible,” Feil said. The forms needed to be fillable on both a desktop platform as well as mobile platforms so that they could be used either in the office or at the client’s location.

Bill Rapp, owner and president of KW Three Peaks Real Estate, uses Strider forms every day.

Feil says that since KW Three Peaks started using Strider, their reports have been “clean, easy to read and the process is more organized.” When a new client walks in the door, Feil assigns them a Client ID in Strider. Because her forms are set up with form links, she is able to generate custom PDF reports that combine information from multiple forms using Client ID as the link between data. Feil says the form link feature gives her “the ability to print multiple reports without having to duplicate the same information multiple times.”

KW Three Peaks looks forward to growing their business and integrating more forms and reports as AgTerra further streamlines the forms and reporting process. “The AgTerra team is great to work with,” says Feil, “They are very responsive to our needs and address

Anne Feil easily accesses forms and reports for her clients from any location.

changes that we need in a speedy manner. The products are top notch and have always been reliable.”

AgTerra is happy to support a customer who uses our products in such innovative ways. And when we’re asked if we have a typical customer, we say: No, and that’s how we like it!

Teton Conservation

Minimizing Wildfire Risk with MapItFast and Strider

Teton Conservation District was established in 1946 to promote the conservation and stewardship of natural resources through local projects, partnerships, research, and education. The District boundaries encompass all of Teton County, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, and Wyoming’s portion of Yellowstone National Park. The District office is located in Jackson, Wyoming.

Robb Sgroi is the Land Resources Specialist for Teton Conservation District. He contacted AgTerra while searching for an efficient reporting solution for the Wildfire Risk Reduction Program. “The program includes field consultations with private landowners where we advise them on how to reduce wildfire risk on their property,” explains Sgroi. “After meeting with a landowner and developing an overview of conditions and voluntary recommendations, a written report is produced for the landowner. This serves as a basis for their future actions.”

Sgroi recalls the evaluation and reporting process before he began working with Strider forms and reports. “Transcribing field notes, referring to language from the written standards we utilize, and formatting pictures and graphics was cumbersome and time-consuming.” Because the process was so time-consuming, the program was limited in the quantity of clients it could serve each season. Since the implementation of Strider forms in the spring of this year, Sgroi said, “the use of this software allowed us to meet nearly every client’s request for service, which is an unpredictable workload. We produced over 60 overviews this year”

When asked about his future plans for the AgTerra software, Sgroi said, “In the future, we will continue to communicate with colleagues working with the public in fire prevention and wildfire risk reduction to offer the tools that we developed with AgTerra. We hope other entities can take the form we built and utilize and improve upon it in order to facilitate their work.”

AgTerra’s team has been outstanding to work with. Other entities highly recommended AgTerra to us, in part because of their customer service. AgTerra was instrumental in developing the first version of our Strider Form, from scratch. Our agency has made dozens of modifications to the Strider form over the past six months. AgTerra’s team has implemented these adjustments with a high degree of professionalism and cooperation. They have been dedicated to the success of our product.”  – Robb Sgroi, Teton Conservation District

Watch the video below to see how the Wildfire Risk Reduction Program is being implemented in the Teton Conservation District.

Video courtesy of Teton Conservation District.

Acacia Forest Products

Stand Out From the Competition

Kyle White, a forestry consultant in land management at Acacia Forest Products, has been an AgTerra customer using SprayLogger and MapItFast for the past two years.  His company does weed control spraying for large landowners in Satsuma, Alabama.

One particular weed in this area is an invasive species called Cogon Grass.  It is a thick, aggressive grass that spreads rapidly in the pine plantations of Alabama.  Cogon Grass is on the US Department of Agriculture’s list of noxious weeds and is designated as the world’s seventh worst weed.  It can destroy wildlife habitat and undermine ecosystem health in forest and pastures.

Kyle said using MapItFast and SprayLogger makes paperwork a breeze and takes any guess work out of chemical application.  His customers are really happy with his services.

Kyle emphasized that the software is easy to use for all levels.  He has people of different ages and technology skill levels on his crew and all of them were able to learn it quickly.

“The automated reports and maps are appealing to clients and have helped me land a couple of new contracts this year. This sets me apart from my competition.”

 – Kyle White, Acacia Forest Products

He also really appreciates the level of customer service he receives from AgTerra.

Kyle explains, “if I have a problem, the customer service is second to none.  I have enjoyed working with AgTerra and look forward to growing my business with theirs.”

Pine Beetle Mitigation

Response to Pine Beetles in the Black Hills of Wyoming

MapItFast and Strider help secure impressive results

In 2009, a Statewide Forest Assessment in Wyoming designated the Black Hills region as a high priority insect and disease threat area. To help address the threat, Wyoming State Forestry assembled the Northeast Wyoming Pine Beetle Response Team to help minimize Mountain Pine Beetle damage on the Wyoming side of the Black Hills.

In 2012, conservation leaders from Wyoming and South Dakota adopted the Black Hills Regional Pine Beetle Strategy as follows:

  1. Establish priority treatment areas based on aerial and ground surveys.
  2. Use ground gridding (green tree survey) to identify, mark and count infested trees.
  3. Apply the appropriate control practice to eliminate infested trees before insects spread to healthy trees.
  4. Follow up treatment with inspection.

Pine Beetle Response Team Partners

Crook County Natural Resource District
Weston County Weed and Pest
Crook County Weed and Pest
Weston County Natural Resource District
Bureau of Land Management
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Black Hills Regional Mountain Pine Beetle Working Group
Crook County Commissioners
Weston County Commissioners
Crook County Road and Bridge
Weston County Road and Bridge
Private Landowners
Weston County Fire Protection District
Black Hills National Forest
UW Extension
Bear Lodge Ranger District
Wyoming State Forestry Division
Hell Canyon Ranger District
Wyoming Dept. of Agriculture
Newcastle Tree Board
Wyoming Wildlife Trust Fund

The response project involves over twenty partners collaborating to provide focused and integrated treatments for multiple landowners in multiple jurisdictions.

AgTerra’s MapItFast and Strider Reporting products have played a key role in implementing the strategy.  Inexpensive Android phones without a cellular plan were purchased to outfit over 30 contractors with GPS and data recording devices. After a brief training, the contractors are able to mark their inspection routes, specific problem trees, and priority area boundaries on their devices.

The ongoing project requires that most of the work is done in remote areas without access to Internet.  Because of this, the MapItFast project has been enhanced with offline aerial basemaps and property boundary overlays.  At the end of the day, after contractors return to Wi-Fi service, the project data stored on the devices is automatically uploaded to the online MapItFast mapping and Strider Reporting account.  No manual data transfer is involved throughout the process.

An enormous amount of data has been collected.  In the fall/winter of 2014-15, an area of approximately 80,000 acres was covered and 3,600 miles of forest was walked and evaluated for infestation. 45,000 trees were identified and treated.  Much of the same area was resurveyed in 2015-16 with only 20,000 trees identified and treated. During 2016-17, spotting was reduced to roughly 35,000 acres after finding less than 2,000 infested trees. These results demonstrate a thrilling success for the Response Team.

“MapItFast is a tremendous help identifying infested tree locations so that sawyers are able to quickly find and treat the trees.  Managing the maps and data from all the contractors is easy and convenient.  We were able to accomplish all of this at a fraction of the cost of other systems.”

 – Jeremy Dedic, Assistant District Forester with Wyoming State Forestry

Sarah Anderson, District Manager with the Crook County Natural Resource District, helped coordinate the pine beetle mitigation efforts by training a large number of contractors and managing the GIS and tabular data they collected. When asked about AgTerra and the software, she said, “MapItFast has been fantastic. We really enjoy working with AgTerra.”

Results of the project have been impressive. Recent surveys taken in locations where work has been implemented show a stark decrease in the green trees infested with Mountain Pine Beetle.