Convening a day prior to this summer’s Farm Progress Show at the I Hotel in Champaign, IL (about an hour’s drive up I-72 from Decatur, IL), our PrecisionAg® Innovation Series speaking agenda has rounded out pretty nicely as we’re about two weeks out from the actual event (Aug. 28).
Many of us have been out on the road this summer visiting various ag tech companies, as well as attending shows like NFMS or InfoAg, and we’ve noticed that many of you currently filling that service provider role are focusing more and more of your efforts on perfecting the “business” of precision ag services this summer.
Or, basically, if I come out and make you a variable rate application map and shoot that bad boy over your Raven Slingshot into your JD R-Series sprayer (give me room people – talking shop here ;)), how the heck do I – the ag tech or local service provider – make a little scratch off that?
Guys are tired of giving this specialized expertise away for free, and I can’t really blame them there.
At our aforementioned Innovations Series meeting Nicholas Uilk, Ag Systems Technology Instructor, South Dakota State University, is set to lead a panel discussion at Innovation covering just that very pertinent topic.
Titled “Pillars of a Successful Precision Program” and featuring Clint Sires from AgPartners (Albert City, IA), Jason Leary with Crystal Valley Coop (Albert City, MN), Dan Lucas of AgriVision Equipment (Hamburg, IA), as well as Wheat Growers’ Brent Weisenberger (Aberdeen, SD), he plans to guide his fellow panelists as they hone in and share battle-tested expertise on five topical areas where they all believe any grower-facing precision ag program can find success:
- Research — specifically, according to Uilk, local research for local results. “Local data can eliminate the opportunity to dispute the results,” he shares.
- Data Analysis — here Uilk says it’s all about data the grower can take to the bank. “Part of the discussion will focus on the panel members who take information from growers and provide data back to the group of growers signed up to be a part of the program.”
- Getting Paid — variable rate mapping is not variable rate billing, Uilk states. “Agronomists and/or precision ag specialists are not necessarily accountants.”
- Logistics — This also ties in with the above part on getting paid. “Today coops have multiple vehicle spreading multiple blends, multiple spray mixes, and so on. You MUST have a strong logistical management system to ensure every field gets the correct application/prescription/etc.”
- Hiring/Keeping Good People — just as a properly executed back shoulder fade requires pinpoint timing and coordination between quarterback and receiver, the success of any precision program hinges on finding and keeping good employees around. “Success of any precision ag program is dependent upon the people running and executing the program (hmmm, sounds kind of like football, no?). Where do you find good people and how do you get them to your company?”
So, if that sounds like something that could help your business on the back end of 2017 (or more importantly, get off to a good start Q1 2018), we’re taking discounted registrations up until Monday, August 14 at www.precisionaginnovation.com.
Or, if walking up is more your style, we dig that too.