The Michigan Soybean Committee has a long standing history of engaging local and international communities to promote soybean farmers in Michigan. The Michigan Soybean Committee (MSC) directs the soybean checkoff. The commodity checkoff was born of Public Act (P.A.) 232 in 1976. When a grower sells soybeans, the first purchaser collects .005 (1/2 of one percent) of the value of the soybeans sold. The assessments are then sent to MSC, which sends half of the dollars collected to the United Soybean Board. Farmers need to be able to access the distribution of funds and the checkoff process in the middle of the field without Wi-Fi, hence the need for the project management portal.
The Michigan Soybean Committee manages millions of dollars of special projects to enhance the profitability of Michigan’s Soybean farmers. Their legacy web management system was built on a custom implementation of Drupal and was extremely outdated. Switchbox was brought in to build an updated custom web portal in Ruby on Rails to reduce the time the team of project managers and board members spent overseeing the distribution of their funds. Their current website had limited capabilities for printing for the web, coupled with reporting issues, and extremely outdated UI/UX issues making it cumbersome to navigate.
Switchbox worked with the Michigan Soybean Committee to evaluate their existing Drupal intranet and to complete a series of interactive wire frames that could be reviewed by the staff. After these wire frames were approved our team of developers built out the web portal using Ruby on Rails, responsive HTML templates and a PostgreSQL database. Close attention to detail was considered in providing easy way to collect and consolidate necessary data for the board members to access the data remotely, without needed high speed internet to do so. Each user role was presented with a specific view of the data they needed to make informed but fast decisions.
Previous projects were imported successfully into the new system which allowed the team to move forward without delaying work while the websites were switching out. The new user interface allows simple tasks such as approving or denying projects in bulk and doing mass exports of projects within seconds compared to days of manual time before. Employees are now able to spend less time on paperwork and more time working with vendors.