Customer Spotlight: Bethel Farms

Customer Spotlight: Bethel Farms

Bethel Farms: Early Adopter of Sabanto’s Autonomy

Like many sod farms across the country, Bethel Farms was not exempt from ongoing challenges with farm labor. Bethel Farms responded to these challenges with an innovative approach looking to implement new technologies available in the sod industry. When Sabanto connected with the folks at Bethel Farms, it was a perfect match. Since adopting autonomy on their farm last fall, Bethel Farms has autonomously worked over 9900 acres and operated nearly 1147 hours – that’s over 47 days of work completed fully autonomously.

Alonzo Villanueva is responsible for monitoring and handling many of those autonomous operations. Since joining Bethel Farms in 2016, Alonzo has taken on more responsibilities. He is now a farm manager overseeing all SodPod® tray production at the Bethel Farms headquarters location in Arcadia, FL. Alonzo additionally monitors two Sabanto Steward™ systems, helping the farm increase its overall efficiency and productivity. Alonzo has embraced our autonomous technology, consistently running the two systems he monitors for at least 15 hours daily. He noted, “Our goal is to have Sabanto running 18 hours every day.”


Alonzo Villanueva is a farm manager and oversees all SodPod® tray production for Bethel Farms in Arcadia, FL.


Sabanto Steward has helped Bethel Farms with the consistency of their mowing operations. Alonzo noted they can mow more frequently with less overlap, reducing the time spent per field. He has put Steward to work on various jobs, including seed drilling, rotovating, teravating, rolling, and of course, mowing. Alonzo is happy with Steward’s performance, noting its ability to run perfect angles with straight lines. “Sabanto is onto something that is easy and has multiple uses,” stated Alonzo.

He also remarked that Sabanto’s technology was easy to learn.  “I like how simple it is. I can run our equipment from my phone and check on it remotely,” Alonzo explained.

“I like how simple it is. I can run our equipment from my phone and check on it remotely.”

Our customers often comment on how convenient it is to deploy their autonomous systems from any location using their smartphone or laptop. Over Christmas, Alonzo visited Wisconsin and operated the two Steward systems back in Florida like usual. He’s also continued normal operations with Steward while he took a break at his family’s beach house.

Michael Brannon, a Sabanto dealer representative at Ag Technologies, helped Alonzo improve Steward’s performance during overnight operations. When Alonzo had difficulty with nighttime visibility, Michael created custom lighting that he installed under the system’s cameras, giving Alonzo and other Bethel Farms operators better visibility. Alonzo stated, “Working with Michael Brannon and Jamie Gross at Ag Technologies and Mr. Craig [Rupp] and Cory Spaetti at Sabanto has been awesome. They are responsive and quick to get back to you to make things a little bit easier.”

Bethel Farms has been a champion for Sabanto’s autonomous technology since becoming one of our first customers in the fall of 2023. We’re grateful to work with the Nugent family and connect with wonderful people like Alonzo, who are a part of the Bethel Farms innovative team.


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