Top 5 Reasons Why Ag Retailers Need To Lead The Way In Conservation

Smack dab in the middle of Iowa, you will find Casey’s General Store headquarters. For those of you who have stopped at a Casey’s General Store, you realize this is one of the great businesses in the Midwest. Whether you are looking for gas, a slice of pizza, clean restrooms, or just a great cup of coffee, Casey’s is your place.

After starting with one location, Casey’s General Store now has over 1,900 stores across a 14-state area. So why is Casey’s so successful? It is because Casey’s has everything a traveler needs, whether it is for a cross country trip or a trip across town. Instead of stopping at BP for gas, McDonalds for coffee, Walgreens for candy, Pizza Hut for pizza, or Hy-Vee for milk, you can get it all at Casey’s General Store. One might think Casey’s lacks focus, but I maintain Casey’s has incredible focus… they are focused on travelers.

In the busy world of agriculture, should ag retailers focus more on their clients and offer conservation services? These are my Top 5 reasons why I think ag retailers should lead the way:

1. Farmers are under pressure to implement more conservation
Look at almost any publication dealing with agriculture or the environment and you will find evidence that farmers simply need to do more. America’s water quality problems stretch from the Chesapeake Bay to the Central Valley and Lake Erie to the Gulf of Mexico. Just yesterday, I read a report in my local conservation newsletter that water samples collected between May 2015 and January 2016 from a stream in our county had nitrate levels that were 2.5 to 5 times higher than the safe standard set for drinking water.

2. Farmers need more help
There simply is not enough technical assistance to help farmers with their conservation needs. And now when farmers need help the most, conservation agencies are facing a declining workforce and it looks to get worse. I have often repeated, and have never been corrected, that conservation agencies assist only about 5% of farmers each year. Sure 5% of farmers may seem like a lot, but if an agency plans to see or assist each and every farmer, it would take 20 years. Can you imagine, as a retail agronomist, only making a sales call to a customer once every 20 years?

3. You are a trusted advisor
A 2012 survey of 5,000 Midwestern corn producers reported their most trusted advisor, when making decisions about agricultural practices and strategies, was their chemical and seed dealer. To paraphrase what Matt Carstens, VP of United Supplies has said, there are only so many advisors that are invited to a farmer’s inner circle. Usually that inner circle is limited to 5 or 6 advisors. Almost 100% of the time, the farmer’s ag retailer is one of those advisors. It only makes sense that the farmer would want that ag retailer to provide conservation services along with agronomic services.

Ag Decisions Influence Chart
Chemical dealers top the list of ag’s most trusted advisors.

4. Farmers want their ag retailer to engage in conservation
Last year, Dr. J. Arbuckle, Iowa State University Rural Sociologist, analyzed surveys of 1,128 Iowa farmers. A majority of farmers (60%) surveyed agreed that their fertilizer or ag chemical dealer “should do more to help farmers address nutrient losses into waterways.” Only 9% of the farmers reported they did not think their ag retailer should provide conservation services.

Fertilizer and ag chemical dealer chart

5. Client loyalty
The Rockefeller Corporation studied why customers leave one company for a competitor. They found 68% of clients leave a business because they believe the business doesn’t care about them. According to Lee Resource Inc., attracting new customers will cost your company 5 times more than keeping an existing customer. I would think these statistics also apply to ag retailers. Recently, a large ag retail executive informed me that their customer turnover was as high as 22% annually. I was surprised by that number. Obviously a commitment to customer retention should focus on the needs of a customer while at the same time maintaining the competitive advantage.

For more articles from Tom Buman, visit the Precision Conservation Blog.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Professionals Stories
Grower Services & SolutionsAgribusinesses Launch FieldReveal Platform for Local Agronomists
August 22, 2017
Four leading agribusinesses, Wheat Growers, Landus Cooperative, Central Valley Ag and WinField United, have signed a letter of intent to Read More
Gregoire-tractor
ProfessionalsMechanization Key to the Future of Vineyard Management
August 15, 2017
Precision technology moves at different speeds across different segments of agriculture. For example, technologies like curve compensation, precision spraying, and Read More
Univ.-of-Illlinois-Palmer-in-soybean1
Business ManagementOpinion: How to Leverage Precision Agriculture to Launch Your Aggressive, High-Pressure Telemarketing Business
August 14, 2017
To continue where my last article left off (which you can check out here), a precision ag company that specializes Read More
Data ManagementDuPont Acquires Ag Tech Startup Granular for $300 Million
August 9, 2017
DuPont announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire San Francisco-based Granular, Inc., a provider of software and Read More
Trending Articles
Agri-AFC-cotton-baler
Business ManagementBringing a Southern Sensibility to Precision Agriculture
August 7, 2017
Amy Winstead considers herself blessed to have gotten in on the ground floor of precision ag adoption in the Southeast. Read More
Sensors/IoT2017 Yield Monitor Calibration Checklist — Part I
August 4, 2017
With fall harvest a few weeks away for most of the country, ag service providers from every walk of life Read More
Wade-Barnes
Excellence AwardsBuilt By Agronomists: 2017 Award Of Excellence Winner Wade Barnes on the Making of Farmers Edge
August 2, 2017
Farmers Edge President And CEO Wade Barnes reflects on the process of building his company, shortly after receiving the Crop Adviser/Entrepreneur Award during the InfoAg Conference in July. Read More
Data ManagementInfoAg 2017 Recap: Service Providers Take Center Stage
July 28, 2017
As I sit here and ponder just what it was that we all experienced last week, off the top of Read More
Resistant-weeds-in-Brazil
InternationalUsing Precision Agriculture to Control Herbicide-Resistant Weeds in Brazil
July 24, 2017
The occurrence of weeds in agricultural fields of grain and fiber production has caused losses to farmers for a long Read More
Yield Data Image
Data ManagementYield Data: More Than a Pretty Picture
July 13, 2017
It is mid-July, which, for the Australian cotton industry, means that picking is still going on for some growers. A Read More
Latest News
Grower Services & SolutionsAgribusinesses Launch FieldReveal Platform for Local Ag…
August 22, 2017
Four leading agribusinesses, Wheat Growers, Landus Cooperative, Central Valley Ag and WinField United, have signed a letter of intent to Read More
Industry NewsTrimble to Distribute Promising SIMPAS Application Syst…
August 21, 2017
AMVAC Chemical Corp. has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Trimble. The two companies are working toward an agreement Read More
Data ManagementBeck’s Builds Out ‘Freemium’ FMIS Off…
August 17, 2017
Beck’s today announced the release of several new tools available in their precision farming service, FARMserver, which enhances farmers’ ability Read More
Israel-Irrigation-system-featured-image
InternationalIsraeli Precision Ag Companies Lead in Water Use Effici…
August 16, 2017
In the last week, AgriHub, formed by farmers and consultants from Brazil, visited 10 Israeli agribusiness companies, including the Ministry Read More
Gregoire-tractor
ProfessionalsMechanization Key to the Future of Vineyard Management
August 15, 2017
Precision technology moves at different speeds across different segments of agriculture. For example, technologies like curve compensation, precision spraying, and Read More
Area-of-Interest-Web-Soil-Survey-screenshot
Data ManagementSignificant Updates Made to SoilWeb, Web Soil Survey Pr…
August 15, 2017
Agronomic professionals and technicians dealing with precision farming must understand the soils within the field before writing effective prescriptions.  A Read More
Univ.-of-Illlinois-Palmer-in-soybean1
Business ManagementOpinion: How to Leverage Precision Agriculture to Launc…
August 14, 2017
To continue where my last article left off (which you can check out here), a precision ag company that specializes Read More
Industry NewsFarm Dog Inks Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement with USD…
August 14, 2017
Farm Dog, a pest and disease management platform for growers and agronomists, has entered into a Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement (NFCA) Read More
Lisa-Prassack-Photo-Credit-Weekly-Times-Now
InternationalAgtech: What the Umbrella Term Really Means
August 10, 2017
Acclerator, incubator, start-up, connectivity — the buzzwords of the digital age can be clear as, well, mud, writes Alex Sampson Read More
Spray Drift
Data ManagementJanzen: Data to Play Key Role in Sorting Out Dicamba Di…
August 10, 2017
You would have to live under a rock to not have heard about farmers’ issues with dicamba this growing season. Read More
New-Zealand-Precision-Ag-Tour
InternationalNew Zealand Study Tour to Demonstrate Recent Advances i…
August 10, 2017
If you’re interested in an intense, week-long immersion in the use of high-tech products and practices in New Zealand agriculture, Read More
Data ManagementDuPont Acquires Ag Tech Startup Granular for $300 Milli…
August 9, 2017
DuPont announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire San Francisco-based Granular, Inc., a provider of software and Read More
EventsSDSU Prof to lead Profit-Focused Panel at Upcoming Inno…
August 9, 2017
Convening a day prior to this summer’s Farm Progress Show at the I Hotel in Champaign, IL (about an hour’s Read More
AGCO White planter 9800VE
ProfessionalsAGCO Crop Tour 2017 Features Precision Planting Add-Ons
August 8, 2017
Higher yields and greater returns are the ultimate goals for crop producers. To help corn growers better understand the role Read More
Corn
Business ManagementCrop Pro Insurance Closes $8 Million in Series A Fundin…
August 8, 2017
Crop Pro Insurance today announced the close of an $8 million Series A round of financing co-led by top agriculture Read More
Agri-AFC-cotton-baler
Business ManagementBringing a Southern Sensibility to Precision Agricultur…
August 7, 2017
Amy Winstead considers herself blessed to have gotten in on the ground floor of precision ag adoption in the Southeast. Read More
Satshot imagery
Imagery/SensingImagery in Agriculture: Some Sage Advice
August 6, 2017
SatShot President Lanny Faleide has been a fixture on the remote imagery scene for as long as about anyone still Read More
Blue-River-See-Spray-technology
ProfessionalsHow Blue River’s See & Spray Technology Could Chang…
August 5, 2017
The blistering West Texas heat rocketing towards triple digits, the affable cotton grower trudged across his dusty field and approached Read More