Faria Farms, a Tulare, Calif., based dairy company consisting of five dairy farms that produce over 26,000 gallons of milk a day, is using a wireless video surveillance system to watch over the cattle, the farm workers, and equipment. The system, deployed by Valley Ag Software, uses Firetide wireless mesh networking equipment and Axis cameras and management software to help keep the farms operating nearly 20 hours a day. The system protects the farms by mitigating equipment and animal theft as well as potential operational inefficiencies like undelivered materials or, literally, spilled milk during transfers to trucks for transportation.
"Seeing milk go down the drains due to somebody not having properly closed the tank valves is heartbreaking. With cameras in place, we now know who's responsible and can take proper action, whether it's disciplining our workers or requesting compensation from the truck company," said Rick Faria, one of the owners of Faria Farms.
The farms are separated by several miles of land and have dozens of workers, maintenance crews, and delivery trucks coming at all hours of the day. Faria Farm owners needed a video surveillance system to help orchestrate workers and the large deliveries of farming materials - such as 50 gallons of soap or medicine - among the properties. The always-on visibility also allows the owners to keep a virtual eye on other farms even on the days they are too busy to visit all locations.
"We needed a surveillance system to help keep an eye on everything, and because we don't own all the land separating our farms, trenching was out of the question," said Faria. "The system helps us in so many ways I can't imagine going without it, and we're planning on adding more cameras soon."
Faria Farms worked with Valley Ag Software to provide a video surveillance system consisting of nine cameras to stream live video from the five farms to the main office about four miles away. The farm owners also have to be able to manipulate the cameras to pan, tilt and zoom to monitor two entrances to each farm with one camera. To achieve this, Valley Ag turned to Firetide and Axis for a full solution.
"We tested Firetide's equipment against other products and nothing else could support the bandwidth and provide the reliability we needed," said Sean Woods of Valley Ag Software. "Through experience we know Axis network cameras and management software deliver the frames per second and control our customers need, so we knew we had an unbeatable solution."
The video surveillance also helps the farmers make sure workers are adhering to proper hygienic practices, and can be used to prevent false legal claims should they arise. "The $90,000 price tag for the system more than justifies itself, considering that's roughly a judgment one can expect from a claim, let alone the time and lawyer costs involved," continued Faria. "Most of my workers have been with us for years and decades, and they welcomed the cameras - they want to make sure that their co-workers are also doing a good job."
Six outdoor Firetide HotPort 6202 nodes and one indoor 6201 node connect five Axis 233D network dome cameras, and two each Axis 211 and Axis 221 fixed cameras, controlled with the Axis Camera Station 3 video management software. Video feeds are streamed at 30 frames per second and are stored for two months at Faria Farms main office. The video can be transferred to CDs if needed for evidence or long term storage. In addition to video surveillance, the Firetide network supports IP-based biometrics time clock system.