December 7, 2018

The Caswell Messenger By LUKE BURRIS

mesurio caswell county announcementOn a chilly Thursday afternoon, the Caswell Economic Development Commission announced that tech company will move its corporate headquarters to Yanceyville, creating over 24 jobs, an estimated economic impact of over $1.5M. specializes in data management, combining localized data in real-time with machine learning to improve environmental resource management, a set of tools useful to farm business.

Company founder Mike Prorock said Caswell County seemed like a perfect fit for the company due to its agricultural history and supply of farming entrepreneurs. (Caswell Local Foods Council was present.)

“Our big goal is to connect people to the right information they need to do their jobs easier and put it to them in a way that they can understand,” said Prorock. “Our goal is to help farmers actually make a living. That’s a hard thing to do, especially in smaller Ag. these days, and well, that’s what most of what Ag. is. People tend to forget that.”

According to Yanceyville Mayor Alvin Foster, will be an “anchor tenant” in the soon to be developed co-working Enterprise Center on Yanceyville Square at the old Drug Store.

“This exciting project will stimulate revitalization in our downtown area,” said Foster. “In the next few years, the creation of more than two dozen jobs will create in excess of more than $1.5M in economic impact in our community.”

Foster is the chairman of Caswell Economic Development Commission.

“Caswell County, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Yanceyville had a joint vision to create the Caswell County Economic Development Commission. This EDC had a vision and campaigned for an economic developer for Caswell County. The Yanceyville Town Council, Caswell Commissioners, and Piedmont Community College brought that to be by going together to fund this particular position. With the hiring of Cori Lindsay (as economic director), we now have a person who has their finger on the pulse of economic development on a daily basis. Without all of this groundwork being done and put into place, today would not have occurred.,” said Foster.

According to Kenny Flowers, N.C. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary of Rural Development, a building reuse grant of $120,000 will go towards renovating the downtown space, which is designed as a meeting place and incubator for future businesses.

“Economic development is a puzzle in my opinion, especially in an economically depressed county and town. Today, we add another piece to our puzzle,” said Foster.

“Thank you for this investment, for yours and our future,” Foster said. “Together, we will accomplish great things.”

The event was hosted at the farm of Liz and Rich Mason, Honey Bee Hills.

As a new user, Liz said, “We’re going to be certified organic hopefully by the the beginning of the year and a part of organic certification is a lot of record keeping. So, hopefully we’re going to use their software to do a lot of the tracking. They have options for things like tracking harvesting and tracking planting.”

Chris Abernethy, senior software engineer said, “We’re constantly talking to new customers to figure out what are the specific things that people are looking for and how we can develop this app. in the best way so that it’s really functional for the people that need it.”

“They’re very interested in working with small farms that are going towards organic certification or need some sort of documentation for their own personal reasons as well,” said Mason. “They’re helping us get a lot of the data in. It’s going to be very helpful. As a part of the certification process, we have to be able to document from ‘seed to sale,’ so we have to be able to tell somebody, ‘This is when I planted it; this is when it went into the ground, was harvested, and how much was harvested; and this is how much was sold and how much it sold for.’ Being able to document all of that in one place will be great.”

A free version of the app. with a limited set of functionality is available now on most download platforms including Apple iTunes and Google Play. The software has various tiers depending on need and is in a constant state of improvement, said Abernethy.

Piedmont Community College, which houses Cori Lindsay’s economic development and small business office, soon enters its second semester of a new agribusiness curriculum.

PCC Public Information Director Elizabeth Townsend said the college wants to be a driver in economic development, in part, by educating and training the next generation of agribusiness technology users.

“’s decision to move to Yanceyville is great timing (for the college),” she said. “They’re on local farms using technology, displaying to current and future students the importance of agribusiness programming.”

The event’s attendees included members of various N.C. state agencies that spent the day in Caswell County as a part of N.C. Governor Roy Cooper’s “Hometown Strong” initiative that partners with local leaders to identify templates of success to improve education, health, income, and empowerment of N.C. citizens.

“Caswell County is a great example of a community working to enhance their rural assets. The discussions today and’s new presence will help to catalyze positive change in their community,” said Kenny Flowers.

Partners that helped with this project include Caswell County, the Town of Yanceyville, Piedmont Community College, the Golden Leaf Foundation, the Economic Development Partnership of N.C., The Launch Place, and the N.C. Department of Commerce.