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What Do Cattle Ranching, Artificial Intelligence (AI) And The Internet Of Things (Iot) Have In Common? With Rob Rastovich, CEO Of Thinglogix

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The internet of things (IoT) is the growing network of connected objects or devices around you. They can collect and exchange data in real time! If you’re a little wary about that, don’t worry because technology isn’t going to conquer humanity anytime soon. But technology is stronger and faster than it has ever been. What does the internet of things mean for things like water management or farming? There are a lot of things you can use this technology for that will help humanity. Join Corinna Bellizzi as she talks to cattle farmer turned Chief Technology Officer of ThingLogix, Rob Rastovich about how IoT can change the landscape that we live in. Learn about ThingLogix and how they operate by sitting between the device manager and the business. Find out why Rob went into technology after being a cattle farmer. Discover what Rob thinks this new technology can do to solve problems in the world like water management. Learn that technology isn’t the enemy and neither is your rancher. 

About Rob Rastovich

CMBB 108 | Internet Of ThingsRob Rastovich has been actively involved in technology for nearly 30 years. He built a top 10 e-commerce site at a time when e-commerce was still in its infancy. He is the CTO of ThingLogix, an IoT company that was awarded the 2018 IoT Platforms Leadership Award. They are also an advanced tier technology partner for Amazon Web Services. When Rob is not at the forefront of technology, he can be found doing what he loves, maintaining his cattle ranch, and connecting with his community in Central Oregon.

Guest Links

Show Notes

0:45 – The Internet Of Things

5:52 – Should We Fear Technology?

10:36 – ThingLogix

13:55 – Being A Cattle Rancher

16:23 – Ranch Technology

22:32 – Microbrewing

25:14 – United Way Of Monterey County

30:28 – Event-Driven Application

32:27 – Water Management Issues

38:15 – Regenerative Farming

41:42 – Connecting With Your Local Farmer

45:02 – Conclusion & Guest Info

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What Do Cattle Ranching, Artificial Intelligence (AI) And The Internet Of Things (Iot) Have In Common? With Rob Rastovich, CEO Of Thinglogix

Gain Understanding About Why Technology And Cattle Ranching Aren’t The Enemy And Can Be Part of Our Solution To Reverse Global Warming

We are going to explore the Internet of Things, otherwise known as IoT, from the unique perspective of someone whose start in the business came from the hard labor of running a cattle ranch. Rob Rastovich has been active in technology for several years from building eCommerce sites at what was the dawn of our present state of doing business in this way using AWS and IoT when things were, let’s say, in their infancy. ThingLogix, his company, was awarded the 2018 IoT platform’s leadership award. When he’s not working on his role, leading the Internet of Things, he can be found maintaining his cattle ranch and being a part of his community in Central Oregon. Rob, welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me.

It’s nice to have you here. I also am from Southern Oregon. It’s been a while. I have yet to be up to Bend, but perhaps one day soon you can show me what you do differently at that cattle ranch.

I would love to have you anytime.

Let’s start this conversation with a simple review of what the Internet of Things is.

Most simply put, it’s the ability to connect devices that typically wouldn’t be connected. The most common example is smart homes. Smart homes are pretty prevalent around. You can connect your thermostat and your garage door. You can have all these things talk amongst themselves and talk to you. The thermostat can tell the windows to tell the drapes to go up and down. The garage door can tell the lights to go on and off. Things can talk to each other. All those things only talk to each other as if they have the ability to send messages. The Internet of Things is managing messages between devices and people.

[bctt tweet=”The internet of things is really about managing messages between devices and people.” via=”no”]

Is artificial intelligence involved with how they communicate?

That’s where ThingLogix got its start. Originally, we had another company called 2lemetry that was out in Denver. We developed the ability to manage and ingest these messages. That company was ultimately acquired by AWS and is now what AWS refers to as the AWS IoT broker. That was the first step, how do you get messages from one device to the other? Taking and adding logic to things, ergo ThingLogix is the ability to take artificial intelligence and put it onto these devices and make them smart enough to know not every time that they have to do something, but when they have to do something and when they need to talk to other things and when they need to translate data from one point to the other.

Would this be called a narrow approach to artificial intelligence, or is it broader?

I would say we are pretty broad in the sense of we talk about putting logic against anything. I would say we have logic than intelligence that we put on against the farm. We have intelligence we put against a volcano, migrating geese, UPSs. You name it, we have a broad approach. The more specifics in terms of algorithms that get down to when and how you do things and whatnot, would be a case-by-case implementation.

The reason I ask is because I have an earlier interview where I spoke with Mo Gawdat who used to be the Chief Business Officer at Google X. He wrote a book called Scary Smart, all about how artificial intelligence is ultimately going to surpass the collective knowledge of humanity in relatively short order, the next 20 to 30 years. Ultimately, it will learn from us, from our behaviors, and will either be good for us or potentially pretty bad. Some people misunderstand its involvement and approach and something like a smart home concerning thoughts being along the lines of, “How much is it learning about me? What is it going to share with the universe? Is that technology secure?” What would you have to say to that individual who might have some concern about these things?

I get that question a lot, “Am I creating Big Brother? Have I been creating this monster that cannot be turned off?” With today’s technology, that is not the case. We tend to extrapolate out to that point. We are at the ability now to be able to take things and the ability to do one thing, this idea of collective consciousness and collective intelligence. Is it possible? Yes, it is theoretically possible to allow these things to have a collective intelligence that is artificial. It still is though, the intelligence that is offered into a device is ring-fenced by the intelligence of the person that developed it.

We have not gotten to the point yet. There has been some experimentation and there have been some people who have posited algorithms that can get to the point where it can learn in and of itself, but it still only learns about the things that we teach it. The scary part to me is that it’s not unlike how we teach our children. You can have a child and that child objectively comes into the world and is taught by its parents, community, and society. It absorbs data. It learns behaviors. It does all those things. You could say that that child is a product of its programmer. It can grow up to do good things, and it can grow up to do less than optimal things.

Intelligence and artificial intelligence I don’t think are much different than that. It’s what you put into it and how that learning takes place. Now, the type of intelligence and the computing power that we have is greater than it has ever been in the history of mankind. Could it go down that road? Yeah, it’s possible. I don’t see it in a practical sense as us being there right now for the sheer amount of data that we have to process.

Let’s talk about what you do specifically at ThingLogix. What is a sweet spot that you are the master of?

After the acquisition of our broker to Amazon, ThingLogix was born out of that to provide professional services around this technology. Essentially, to use agriculture, which is near and dear to my heart, you have a sensor that sits out in the field and it measures moisture and maybe nutrients of what’s in the soil. It sends that data up. That’s all it knows how to do and that’s all it can do. Somebody or something has to come in and put context around that thing. That thing is in the Northfield on the Rastovich farm in the Southeast corner of the Northfield. In there, we are going to plant potatoes. It’s connected to this water system and it has these nutrients available.

Now we have to put the ability to, “We are going to send moisture from this pump and we are going to send these types of nutrients because we know it’s going to be potatoes in there.” All of that kind of stuff that puts context around and makes an application is what ThingLogixx does. Think about an eCommerce site. I have a product and I have a widget and I have a webpage for my widget. Now we need to put an application around that. You need to be able to add the widget to the basket, and you would be able to need to accept the credit card and you need to send it to fulfillment and you need to be able to do all these other things around the fact that has it. That’s what ThingLogix does. We develop that framework and the ability to create a solution or an application around devices.

That sounds like it’s making it more accessible than to other device manufacturers, people who want to create something new or ultimately take the power of that tracking into their own hands.

We sit between the device manufacturer and the business. A great example, I had a guy come to me one time and he said, this was in the early days, he had a pool business where he cleaned pools and says, “I want to build a new website so people can go onto my website and they can schedule an appointment for repairs and they can order chemicals and we can do their payments and all that kind stuff.” It seemed like a good idea. He goes, “I could increase my business.” I said, “We are thinking about that in the wrong way. In today’s world, we are moving to a subscription economy, a connected economy.”

I go, “Instead of spending your money on trying to get customers to come to your website, let’s take a connected pool pump and install a connected pool pump that measures your chemicals and dispenses that and sends back diagnostics equipment. Instead of your customers having to go to your website and have to do something, your business model changes completely.”

“You say, ‘I’m not going to charge $100 a month or whatever. Your chemicals are going to arrive automatically. We are going to come out and schedule maintenance preventatively because we know your pump has a profile of a pump that might fail in two weeks instead of the day before the pool party. We are going to proactively work on these kinds of things instead of waiting for you to request it and then respond and request a response.’” ThingLogix has the ability to sit in the middle and build that solution so that device manufacturers like the pool pump manufacturer and the business like the guy who’s running around cleaning pools can create a new business model.

CMBB 108 | Internet Of Things
Internet Of Things: ThingLogix proactively works on device problems instead of waiting for you to request it. They sit in the middle and build that solution so device manufacturers can actually create a new business model.

I interviewed the CEO and Founder of Delfast eBikes. They are collecting data all the time on the performance of their vehicles and can ultimately slurp that up into the cloud and then share it with the purchasers of their eBikes. It can even track where their bicycles are if they have been subject to theft or something along those lines. They can also track the temperature of the batteries so that if there is a failure predicted, it can be addressed before a problem arises.

That’s a great example, being able to provide a solution and all those little things, the battery, the bike, all those manufacturers put that together and they came up with a business case that says, “Let’s put a solution together that didn’t exist before.” Technology like those, like Uber, are technologies that didn’t exist and couldn’t have existed without a message-based back-and-forth type of architecture.

I would like to know a little bit more about how being a cattle rancher prepared you for this life.

I’m a third-generation rancher. The ranch I live on is several years old. My grandfather founded the ranch in 1919. I always tell people I’m a cattle rancher because I don’t think I know how not to be a rancher. It’s in my blood. I grew up here. My father grew up here. My grandfather and all my aunts and uncles grew up here as well. That was from day one. I was on the trajectory of being a rancher. The technology came in. I started and went to school to do marketing. When the internet poked its head up in the mid to late-‘90s, I caught the technology bug. That was the crack cocaine I couldn’t get enough of.

You and everyone I went to high school with in Silicon Valley. I was in Cupertino as that was erupting into something gigantic. For some reason, I strayed from the industry. I was one who said, “I want to work in something more naturally oriented,” but yet every man I dated for a long time was a technologist. My husband works for Joby Aviation. They are working in the VTOL space, Vertical Take Off and Landing. I’m still here in Northern California, which is a hotbed for all of that. Technology surrounds me every single day. I get the appeal.

I also am a marketer and I use a lot of these tools. I’m marveling at the fact that our jobs have become so much more easy with these gifts that technology has provided because we can get to know our customers better and differently. There are ways to create surveys or questionnaires that enable you to learn more about your customer base than you might ever have been able to in the past. I’m sure you are going to tell me about more solutions.

We have a full bag of them, that’s for sure. Once I got that bug, I couldn’t stop it. The technology grew around that. I never gave up ranching because it’s a grounding place for me. They work well together.

What kind of technology do you use specifically on the ranch?

We use the ranch as a Proof of Concept to do a POC. We have done POCs around soil monitoring and fertigation, the ability to when you irrigate to not send water out but to send nutrients out. In Oregon, industrial hemp became legal a few years ago. I put in 20 acres of hemp and experimented. At that time, Boston Dynamics had the dog, Spot, a robotic dog that could walk up and down the aisles and look for plants and do the weeding. Inside the hemp process, if a male plant gets inside your crop, it’s bad for it. You got to constantly monitor for that. With the cattle, we start experimenting with smart corral systems.

Now, the cow that goes to market is the slowest cow, the one you can catch the easiest. That’s probably not the most efficient way to manage a herd. We are working on corral systems because all the cows have RFID tags. As they walk through, we know which cow comes in and whatnot. Being able to simply do things like close a gate when you know that the cows are coming in, they are coming in for water. They come in for feeds. There are 400 or 500 cattle out there. As the one that you want comes in, you close the gate behind her. You catch a few extras in the corral, but it’s easy to sort 1 out of 5 than it is 1 out of 500.

Being able to do smart corral systems that manage or herd, makes it less stress on the animal, makes it safer for the handlers, those kinds of things. We have experimented a lot. We spun up another company called around cold chain monitoring. When we have processed meat, we put it in a freezer. Those freezers have tens of thousands of dollars worth of product in them. If a freezer were to fail for some reason, we want to know that right away. If the temperature goes up 1 degree, I want to know immediately. Putting sensors in there to manage the freezers and manage that cold chain from the point of processing all the way to when we send it to our customers.

CMBB 108 | Internet Of Things
Internet Of Things: The cow that goes to market is the slowest cow. That’s probably not the most efficient way to manage a herd. But with smart corral systems, you can better manage a herd while making it less stressful for the cow.

This is something that my readers may remember from an earlier episode when we interviewed Manik Suri of Therma. They managed specifically fixed refrigeration units, but you are talking about end-to-end as well, collecting data all along the way. I’m thinking about a couple of things here. One is I visited what I would call a humanitarian-style dairy farm up in Wisconsin at one point. They had a technology where their cows, they all had RFID tags like you are talking about. They would choose when it was time to be milked. They would come into the building, and literally walk through. They knew where to walk, to go ahead and line up and be milked. They would walk out of the building. Every step of the way, these things are tagged. They know which cow came in at what time, and how much milk they received, all of that is cataloged and ultimately preserved then the cow walks out.

Less stress on the cow. Less stress on overall workflow. The cows essentially know when it’s time to be relieved of their milk. They would come in and be processed ultimately. I felt like that was such an interesting approach to doing this entire process, less stressful. The data was all there and felt like it was novel and would support people who might have chosen to stop drinking milk specifically for how often dairy cows are treated to consider adding it back if they didn’t have a sensitivity. I’m dairy-sensitive. I’m working to eliminate dairy from my diet. That’s one primary reason for me anyway.

Those dairy farms are amazing. I have had the opportunity to visit a couple here in Oregon that was in the process of automating some of that stuff. There’s a special place in heaven for dairy farmers. It’s 4:00 AM and 4:00 PM every day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It’s a lot of work what they do. Those cattle, they get used to it. I always say the farmer is the original conservationist. There’s no person that cares more and nurtures more the land and the people and the animals on it than the farmers. Are there exceptions? Yeah, there are abuses, but most of the ranchers and farmers that you will meet, at least the ones that I deal with around family farms and family ranchers, the amount of care and nurturing that goes into their animals and their land and making sure that it is viable not just for this season or next season, but for generations.

[bctt tweet=”There’s a special place in heaven for dairy farmers.” via=”no”]

What you are talking about again is not the Concentrated Animal Farming Operations, the CAFOs. That’s a completely different story. When you get to know your food sources, for instance, if I was to come to your farm and get meat from your farm, I’m talking to a specific rancher who’s been doing this work on the same land for three generations, who’s taken extra care, and who I understand is even feeding mash from beer processing to your cows. Can you talk to us about this?

Our little town of Bend, Oregon in the mid-’90s was one of the first towns that started doing microbrewing. One of our largest brewers here is Deschutes Brewery. They distribute nationally. We have on the order of magnitude, 10 Barrel and Boneyard are pretty popular national brands. We have some large national brands that brew here. They have a product, the byproduct of beer making. We call it a beer mash that they have to dispose of. It’s the grains and the wheat that go into making an individual. Those proteins are soaked out of that grain. That’s what gives you your beer, the flavor. That’s what makes an IPA and IPA, a blonde a blonde, and those kinds of things.

When they are done with that, that needs to go someplace. It can’t go into the sewage system because it messes up the processing plants. You can’t take it to the landfill because it’s a wet product. You have to do something. We pick that up and we feed that to the cows. Each of those brewers has little pubs in town. We sell the meat back to the pubs so that when you come into town and you have a burger and a beer, you are eating a burger raised on the beer that you are drinking.

Is it part of the flavor of the meat?

It does. There’s a traditional grass-fed animal, and then there’s more of what people would call corn-fed animals where they are fattened up more on a starchy, like a corn. We are someplace in the middle so we get a lot of grass-fed, but they don’t get a lot of starch. They end up with marbling and a flavor that is closer to a corn-fed animal than it would be a grass-fed. Grass-fed would be leaner, a little more gamier. Yes, it definitely does affect the taste. In my opinion, it’s better, but I’m a bias or something.

I’m curious. We will have to figure out a way to get some of that to me. My husband will expertly grill it because his master chef level has been attained in the outdoor cooking world. I do everything else inside stuff. Let’s talk for a minute about what you have done in my relative local area here with United Way Monterey County. I would like to know a little bit more about that.

That was an interesting one. Originally, that was a pilot program. It was sponsored by Cisco.

Cisco, meaning the tech company?

This is a tech company. We competed for, it’s called 1,000 People Out of Poverty, which was the pilot program. The goal there was to be able to manage indigent care across services. There are organizations that provide food banks. There’s job training and then there’s shelter. There are clothing and those types of services. There’s mental health. Each one of those services was disparaging and disconnected from the other. What they wanted to do was come up with a way to make sure that that care could go across.

When you get into the system, you can manage a person’s care across agencies. The challenge in that of course is the distribution of data. A lot of times, indigent care doesn’t have an address. They don’t have a place to send stuff. They don’t have a phone number. How do you manage those things? We put in a bit more against traditional technologies. We are more database-centric. We took a different approach to it. We said, “We are an IoT company, but let’s not just think about connecting things. What if we connected everything?” The idea that a person is a thing if I may be bold.

That sends messages and receives messages and needs logic if you will put on it. What we did and each of these individual health systems or providers, we said, “If we treated those as a connected device, and they are not sending us all the data. I don’t want to come in and get all your data and create this big behemoth, a meta-application of applications. Who visited you?” “Rob came in and he got some food today. I talked to him. He may need some referrals to some shelter.” That comes back. As the message acts in real-time and we treat it like it’s a real-time interaction, we can immediately then send a message to the shelter and say, “Rob needs some shelter. He’s over here at this location right now. He needs to get there. He’s on his way.”

“We will expect him. We will look for him. Maybe we will have to go get him.” From there, I get shelter and maybe I get a little more safety. “Rob needs some job training.” “We will now give him some job training.” Someone can manage Rob in his journey out of poverty, across all agencies, and across all these things. That was the goal. United Way took that to the next level. It was successful. They said, “Let’s do that with not just this area, but let’s roll it out to other areas in Monterey. Let’s put other agencies in there. Let’s manage and create these interactions between the different charities, the different nonprofits, and the different systems or agencies out there. Allow them to communicate across any individual management system or computer system or whatnot, and give them something that’s above that.”

I’m seeing that in this situation, you could better track resources. You could more effectively determine who needed help. It also sounds like there could be a risk and all of that information being in one spot like the individual might be worried that it could be used in a nefarious way against them. I know that in the homeless population, for example, there are those individuals who are already on the street because they fear that they are being tracked or they don’t want to go into a shelter because they fear that somebody’s coming for them. If they had knowledge of this level of detail being taken about them, they may be less likely even to go forward with some of the help that they might need. I wonder what your thoughts are about that and how we might work to mitigate some of the concerns that people might have.

The difference between a meta-application of an application of applications would be exactly what you are talking about. We would be collecting data and analyzing that data and attempting to act upon it and say, “We now got to go get this person because we know that they are going to do that.” The difference is we are what we call an event-driven application. In other words, I send a message that I am here and I need to be picked up. Think of it like Uber. I send a message. I consciously intentionally send a message and ask Uber to come to get me.

CMBB 108 | Internet Of Things
Internet Of Things: ThingLogix is an event-driven application. So if you send Uber a message to come get you. ThingLogix doesn’t act as the analysis or the application, they just provide that connection.

Somebody on the other side of that receives that message and goes, “I happen to be going that way. If you are willing to exchange some dollars for my time and this and that, then we will have a connection and we will go and off we go.” At the end of the day, can Uber keep that data and do it? Yes, but what we have done in that is we don’t act as the analysis or the application. Our job is to provide that connection. Ours is anonymous, autonomous data moving back and forth. It exists for an event, for a transaction. Once that transaction’s done, it goes into whatever system they have. Everybody maintains their autonomy as it does now.

I would like to know a little bit more about how you see this type of technology, making our lives easier as time goes on, and also how it might connect with and touch on our management of environmental issues from water usage to even the inputs that we put into our gardens and lawns. I’m wondering what you think the applications could be for this technology and our daily lives.

You hit upon one that is near and dear to my heart as a rancher and as a human being. Water is the number one thing that we need. I live in Central Oregon in a high desert climate. I ranch and farm in the middle of a desert. If you don’t have water in the middle of a desert, it’s a problem. 2022 and 2021 have been dry years for much of the Western United States and even down into the Southwest. We are going through a drought. As an example, normally on my ranch, I will start growing crops. I start growing hay on April 15th and I end and finish on October 15th. 2022 and 2021, I was able to start on April 15th, but I was done and I had to finish by July 1st.

That was because of water.

We had no water. They turned the water off. There are competing resources for water

This is why a bale of hay is so much more expensive. It’s something like 2 to 3 times what it was.

If you have animals or horses and those kinds of things, hay is going to be 3 or 4 times more expensive because you can’t grow the crops. It’s not enough there. What that translates to means that there’s not enough water coming down the river, flowing off of the mountains, and coming down the river in order to get to the place where the food is being grown. If you travel through Central California to the San Joaquin Valley, those guys down there, you will see them all the time. Water grows food. You need water to grow food for farmers. In my opinion, there’s no less water on the planet now than there ever has been. It’s not like we are leaking water into space. Our sea levels are rising, but the water’s coming from other places.

It’s ice that is melting. Water is transforming into different areas and we have to manage that process. You can’t manage something if you can’t measure it. Managing not just groundwater, but ice caps, ocean water, and surface water, you manage that all as a system. One of our customers is the USGS, United States Geological Services. They have started using our disability to ingest large amounts of data and to track everything around rivers and streams to be able to manage to give a real-time reading as to what’s coming down the Colorado River. If the water’s coming down the Colorado River up in Colorado, it affects the rancher down in Southern Texas because that’s where he’s getting it and in Southern California because that’s where they’re getting it.

[bctt tweet=”You can’t manage something you can’t measure.” via=”no”]

Let’s take it up another level. Let’s manage a snowpack because a snowpack is what’s coming down and creating the Colorado River. All of this is connected. Our entire world is one cause and effect after the other, but we see it as my river here in Oregon or my faucet in Southern California, or my pond in Southern Texas. That has to get out and look at that at a larger thing and technology. Our ability to start managing and measuring snowpack and groundwater and service water, and managing that water as one whole system will and could easily solve this water management problem.

You look back at the years of used to be electricity. Electricity, back in the turn of the century, if you wanted to have a factory that had electrical devices, you had a power plant sitting outside your factory. You had an engine, a windmill, or something that generated power, so you could run it. Eventually, we decided, “That’s silly. Why don’t we create power and put it into a grid and then would manage a grid?” That’s where we need to get water. Water is a distribution problem, not necessarily a supply problem.

[bctt tweet=”Water is a distribution problem, not necessarily a supply problem.” via=”no”]

I have spent a fair amount of time on ranches myself having grown up on a small family farm in Southern Oregon, but then also having spent time on large horse farms working to train horses and call it to start colds. Ultimately, they even are affected because they will dictate or the government is dictating when you can use water when you can have flood-style irrigation. That impacts grass. That also impacts even those that have pasture where they are grazing their animals. They could be in meat production or mining horses and rely on those irrigation days to keep the food supply for their animals. I wonder if you have also explored some of the regenerative farming practices on your own farm that can help you sequester more carbon in the soil but also hold more water in the land itself.

Coincidentally, we use the beer for that, too. Another byproduct of the beer-making process is wastewater that comes up. There are two things. There’s mash that feeds cattle, but then there’s wastewater that’s used that. That comes out and we spread that all over our fields. It’s high in nitrogen. That nitrogen makes the soil more dense. When we come to springtime, it takes less water for us to generate a pasture than it would before because of the density of the ground, we get a more natural nutrient in there in the fall.

It sounds like the grasses you grow loves the nitrogen-rich soil.

We obviously tailor our grasses as such. There are those practices there. A lot of the guys now are starting to change their crops out to be more water tolerant crops, triticale, crested wheat, those kinds of things where you are doing dryland crops. They don’t require as much. Some of these new crops, in fact, the years that we put in hemp. Hemp uses a drip irrigation system instead of more sprinkler stuff. We could produce more acres of hemp with the amount of water that we had than we could produce a pasture.

Other types of crops that we could do that. Our cattle in terms of composting and managing the lots and the waste of the cattle, being able to spread that out across unproductive land and now makes it productive, too. Again, the biggest problem that we face is the water law. If we have 100 acres of water, we are allowed to grow 100 acres of X, whatever it is. Even if I got efficient at my use and I could produce and I could grow 120 acres, I’m not allowed by law to be even more efficient at that. Consequently, if I don’t get my 100 acres and I only have enough to do 80 acres, I will lose 20 acres of water that I was not given because I didn’t use it.

Getting it back, what do you do to get it back? I feel like we have covered a lot of ground in this interview thus far. I know we could keep diving into other subjects that connect to this Internet of Things because we are all connected to this point. Technology continues to grow in our lives and helps us manage all sorts of resources. I would like to ask you, is there a question that I haven’t asked that you wish I had? If so, you can ask and answer it. If not, I would love to hear some parting words from you. What would you have our audience think about as we leave this discussion?

I enjoyed the discussion. You have taken us in all the areas that are pertinent. The one thing that I would say, and I get this a lot to come back to me, a lot of times technologists and ranchers, both of us get vilified for different reasons. One of us is creating Big Brother. The other is destroying the planet. Find a local farmer and befriend him a little bit and learn a little bit. I invite you to come out to the ranch. We do tours here all the time and show people, but don’t be afraid of either one of them. Technology has its place.

Anything obviously can be used for good or not. Technology has a lot of benefits that we experience in our daily life. It’s going to continue to do that. It’s going to shape our world in a positive way. Things like Telemedicine that we are seeing now. The same thing with your local farmer, I know it’s often more difficult to talk to your local farmer. The problem with the local farmers is they became farmers because they weren’t good at public relations.

There’s a reason they become farmers. They are kind and gentle and loving group of people. You reach out to those local guys and help support them. That relationship and connection between the local farmer and the local consumer can start to see big changes in how we work as an economy and as a society.

I couldn’t agree with you more. The reality is there’s a human face to those local farmers in your area. I have always been somebody who shares with my community. If you can, shop local. Go to your farmers’ market. If you have a local rancher there that sells meat locally, they are probably there with a stand, too. We have examples here that are farming lamb, cattle, and seafood. They are here and they are offering their wearers in the local environment.

There is even a chicken farmer who has pictures of their individual chickens up in their booth to show you the personal phase of the flock that they have. One of the things that I love about that particular farmer is even though they haven’t gone through the process of becoming organic-certified because there’s an extra cost to all of these things and sometimes they can’t make the margin for it, they are showing you the personal side of their flock and all of the things that they are doing differently to care for them that you might not have even from an organically farmed egg farmer. I wanted to direct people specifically to your website How do they find out about your farm specifically if they are interested in learning more?

The website for the ranch is That will give you all the information about our practices and what we do. We focus locally. I will see if I can get some beef down to you next time I’m down there because I would love for you to try it.

I would love that. Thank you so much for joining me. This has been awesome.

Thanks. I appreciate you having me.

Thank you for joining us on this journey for a discussion that entered a bit through the Internet of Things and into real applications that you might not have thought of before. We got to know a rancher here who has become a technologist of sorts and understand how this can even impact our usage of water. Technology isn’t the enemy, and neither is your rancher. Get to know them. Get to know who you are buying your products from. Don’t be afraid of the things that technology can add. Ultimately, it will help us manage our resources as time goes on, which is critically important, especially as those ice caps melt and we get less water on an annual basis.

Thank you all for joining us. This has been my pleasure to host this show. Please, join me in welcoming Rob Rastovich into your community. Give him a follow on social channels. Let’s see what he’s up to next. Thank you now and always for being a part of this show and this community, because together we can do so much more. We can care more and we can be better. We can even regenerate Earth. 

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  • Rob Rastovich

    Rob Rastovich has been actively involved in technology for nearly 30 years. He built a top 10 e-commerce site at a time when e-commerce was still in its infancy. He is the CTO of ThingLogix, an IoT company that was awarded the 2018 IoT Platforms Leadership Award. They are also an advanced tier technology partner for Amazon Web Services. When Rob is not at the forefront of technology, he can be found doing what he loves, maintaining his cattle ranch, and connecting with his community in Central Oregon.

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