After that last deployment in New Mexico, we landed at the Fort Union Ranch
, visiting our friend Josh Miner. He hauled us to a meeting the next day of a group of cattle ranchers and land managers that had each driven an hour (on a Saturday!) to meet and talk about their central frustration: it would be great if there was an easy and low-cost way to measure rain and productivity in each of their pastures, and share the data with each other.
Strangely enough, it was practically the same question faced by a crop insurer in Kenya we were put in touch with: can we make an affordable connected rain gauge, so we can use the data to settle insurance claims. It was the same question faced by a large software company serving farmers in the midwest: can we make an affordable connected rain gauge, so we can help farmers keep track of how their season is unfolding.
It was around this time I realized I could have a much bigger impact making tools to measure natural resources than I could in writing the scientific studies I was ostensibly trained to do — and I realized I kind of hated peer review anyway. So Kelly, Ben and I incorporated Arable.