Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Most Trusted Ag Advisor of Them All?

Who is the most trusted ag advisor of them all? It’s a question I think we’ve all heard before, mind you without the Disney flare added to it. That question raises plenty of different viewpoints and positions when it comes to the right answer. So, to get to the bottom of it all, let’s look at each type of trusted provider in agriculture and see were things go. I’ll score them 1-10, with 10 being the most trusted ag advisor. These are my opinions, but I’m sure you’ll have your own.

Seed Dealer – Well, the crop has to start somewhere, right? A seed dealer is at the forefront and provides a service that is crucial to the yield and outlook of the crop, but is he the most trusted? Considering there are thousands of different companies, varieties, crop types, and regions throughout the country, this one would be tough to score high. Many growers have multiple seed dealers, too, so I’d rate this one on the low end with a 3.

Crop Consultant/Agronomist – This one surely is important. Many growers rely on their agronomist or consultant on what to spray, seed, or fertilize, plus sometimes much, much more. There are multiple types of consultants/agronomists, too. You have some that are independent, while others that come from groups. Some work with different ag retailers or seed dealers, while some sell other things, provide precision ag advice or equipment, and the list goes on and on. This group is the most dynamic in my opinion. Many times, they can make or break a farm based on the advice they give. While this can make them the most trusted, it also provides the chance of having the worst impact to the bottom line. This one is tough to judge, but still very important, so it demands an 8.

Financial Advisor/Banker – Surely, knowing how much someone is worth is worth a lot. It does provide the need to know what people are doing with their money. That is usually on the upper end of the spectrum for sure, or is it? Many times, the banker or financial guru doesn’t see the most detailed picture but more of an overview. Let’s not forget that many people have multiple different financial groups they deal with, and for a variety of reasons, too. Most bankers don’t really get into the direct everyday management of the farm and operation, but need to see that there is a good plan while needing trust from the grower that they’ll pay them back. This requires an open conversation — which does involve trust — but it’s just not enough to be the most trusted from my point of view. This type is up there, but not quite all the way. I give it a 7.

Accountant – Much like the above group, this one requires the need to see what the grower actually made legally for taxes. Naturally, that is a pretty big deal. Having a good accountant in agriculture can make or break the farm in multiple ways. It requires a keen eye and a trusted sense of keeping all information away from others that don’t require it. This is great, but not enough to be at the top. Like with the financial advisor/banker, the accountant doesn’t really see the detail on the farm and what makes the grower tick. They do a lot and need to be rated high, but due to their nature of dealing with more than just the ag industry, they get placed on the lower end. I give them a 4.

Grain Marketer – There are a few ways you can look at this one. For instance, many times the grain marketer is the farmer themselves. In all reality, they should be their own most trusted advisor. Of course, that is not exactly where I was going with this. Selling grain and knowing exactly how much grain the grower has at times requires at huge level of confidence and knowledge. You don’t get paid on pure hard work. You’re paid on what the hard work grows into and what it is worth. To many, this requires a very trusted person since they are crucial in what you make at the end of the day. Although seeing as how this one is not as common as some of the others, I can’t score it too high. Also, since the grower is basically this person many times, I can’t count them. I’ll give them a 3.

Equipment Dealer – I had to include this one, but I can’t put too much on it today. Sure, there are some dealers that need to know your financials, provide services like the others, and can be critical in fixing the equipment you have, but are they the most trusted? I’d base the trust on a regional situation, and also the brand. With that being said, growers really are not trusting an individual advisor but usually more of a group out of necessity. Growers need to trust this group, but they have options if the local one doesn’t do it for them. They just might have to travel a little further, order online, or make a call to someone else. This one must be rated lower considering most cases. I don’t want to put this category down though, because many growers are relying on this type more and more with the technology needs of modern equipment. It’s a solid 2, 3 if you’re picky…for now.

Ag Retailer – This one is very tricky. There are so many different types of ag retailers out there, and they can include every part of the above groups I mentioned and more. Sometimes they know everything, and need to, so the grower can grow a crop and be profitable. Sometimes they are just there to sell the most seed, chemical, and fertilizer. I could most likely write a book on this one for obvious reasons. This type of advisor is way too local to put a pure solid number to it, so I’m not sure where to go from here. They can be the most or least trusted depending on a number of factors, and growers can work with a variety of them at the same time. Of course, there is a good chance that a large margin of ag retailers might read this, too, so what to do, what to do…I’m going to just even it out here with a 5. Tough but fair.

Precision Ag Advisor – I better be careful here, right? I’m also semi impartial to this group since I do consider myself one. Digging down further, it is clear that there is a lot of talk about data privacy and the trust needed to handle precision ag data from the farm. While true, where are we with our precision ag advisor? Like other groups, this one can be part of the many others above be it seed, ag retail, equipment dealer, or agronomist/consultant. It can also be all by itself. Even now, this group can come in the form of a software or algorithm if you look at it from a certain point of view. Precision ag advisors may have to know every single aspect of the farm or field to make it all work, so they are pretty important. This makes sense since it is definitely a topic at many of the events we all seem to be a part of these days. If you look at where the ag industry is going, I think you have to score this category high due to all the various factors. At the same time, depending on how this advisor is connected to the other groups will determine how you feel, not to mention growers can have many different advisors or even just a computer. Since most rely on humans…now, I’ll give this growing, yet complex group a 7.

Crop Insurance Agent – So I bet many would not have guessed this one. When it comes down to it though, the crop insurance agent is unique in all aspects of the equation. Almost all the time, the grower has only one agent that handles their insurance risk. Be it land, crops, equipment, homes, cars, or other possessions, the crop insurance agent usually takes it all. They know exactly what they grow, where, what it yields, and what they are protected for, so basically the total value. They manage all of the risk, which when it comes down to it is incredibly important. Especially now! Not only this, many are connected to financial advisement, grain marketing, accounting, and banking adding even more levels of trust. Many are also venturing into other services such as precision ag and agronomic consulting services. Crop insurance agents are some of the most highly respected, trusted, and powerful individuals in smaller communities, and from my experience, they usually don’t do too bad for themselves financially. Combine this with the fact that they have to be trusted with the grower’s information or else the government will become a difficult one to deal with. When everything is put together, the crop insurance agent is the most trusted advisor in my opinion. I do talk and work with many of them on a daily basis, which might make me bias, but I also know and have worked with all the others. So, if I must put a number to this one, I say a 9.

In conclusion, there really is no perfect answer. Everyone has different situations and knows the many groups and individuals in many different and complex ways. Also, if I missed a certain type of advisor, I apologize, they come in many forms. If you really want to know who is the most trusted advisor though, I hope for your sake you look at someone’s spouse and family for this one. Most of the time it’s fairly hard to just find another one to replace them, right? So, all in all I give them a 10 and the advisor the growers trust the most.

Leave a Reply

5 comments on “Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Most Trusted Ag Advisor of Them All?

  1. Folks after you read this you need to read Nathan’s bio and what his background is. You also need to realize he didn’t include Ag Journalist on the list. Why you say? Because it’d be a negative number.

    1. My first thought reading this was “Kerrek must be a seed dealer”…did a quick google search and yep. As a former seed dealer myself I find myself agreeing with Nathan that most seed dealers deserve that number while there are many examples of seed dealers who are and deserve a better score. It’s unfortunate that the industry is filled with people who use emotional tricks to drive sales.

      I don’t agree with Nathan’s rational for the low score. Seed sales is highly competitive and yes, oftentimes farmers will use multiple seed dealers. They do, however, have one dealer/company that they rely on for the majority of their purchases and these decisions are crucial for the success of their business.

  2. I’m disappointed the author did not include many of the trusted resources and personnel that the federal government provides through the many USDA programs and EPA.

  3. YOU are the most trusted crop adviser. Do the work and find out what to do on your farm not what someone else is doing on their farm. I’m 65 and I have farmed for 40 years. I also, am a Certified Crop Adviser and a Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicator.

Business Management Stories
Business ManagementBeing a Great Team Player in the Precision Agriculture Game
March 15, 2018
Only great team players who are great teammates, have the potential to get championship results. Each player on the team Read More
Business ManagementOpinion: Closing the Gap Between the Precision Ag Industry and New Graduates
March 1, 2018
As my time as an undergrad comes to a close, I look at the precision ag industry and I see Read More
Business ManagementIndigo Launches On-Farm Storage to Facilitate a Direct Farmer-to-Buyer Grain Marketplace
March 1, 2018
Indigo Ag, Inc., a company dedicated to harnessing nature to help farmers sustainably feed the planet, has launched an on-farm Read More
AmericasNFMS 2018: Precision Farming, Ag Tech Developments from Louisville
February 21, 2018
Last week’s annual National Farm Machinery Show (NFMS) in Louisville, KY, was this author’s first experience attending the mid-winter Midwest Read More
Trending Articles
Business ManagementBeing a Great Team Player in the Precision Agriculture Game
March 15, 2018
Only great team players who are great teammates, have the potential to get championship results. Each player on the team Read More
Dr Brian Arnall Oklahoma State Paul Schrimpf
Excellence AwardsOpen For Nominations: PrecisionAg Awards Of Excellence Honor Outstanding Achievement in Ag Technology
March 7, 2018
Nominate an outstanding individual for one of four PrecisionAg Awards of Excellence. Recipients will be honored at a special ceremony during the 2018 InfoAg Conference in July. Read More
AmericasCrop Scouting in Brazil Improves Through Intelligent Pest Monitoring Systems
February 28, 2018
About nine years ago, shortly after finishing my graduation, my first job was as a monitor of pests and disease Read More
Events12 Groundbreaking AgTech Startups Selected to Pitch at AgLaunch Startup Station
February 22, 2018
AgLaunch is bringing its Startup Station pitch event back to the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show for a second time Read More
Industry NewsNFMS 2018: Case IH Talks Autonomous Agriculture, Announces Pilot Program
February 20, 2018
Since the reveal of the autonomous concept vehicle, Case IH has been evolving the technology and further defining automation and Read More
AsiaCloud-based Irrigation Could Double India’s Crop Yield and Halve Water Use
February 12, 2018
A cloud-based, micro-irrigation system tested on a farm in India has cut water use by up to 80%  and doubled Read More
Latest News
Precision Irrigation
Data ManagementAgGateway Submits Irrigation Data Standard to ASABE
March 19, 2018
AgGateway has submitted its proposed irrigation data exchange standard to the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), a Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsIndustrial IoT Company Intros Remote Asset Monitoring S…
March 16, 2018
FreeWave Technologies today announced the general availability of the WAVECONTACT WC30i-AXIS Wireless Angle Sensor. This sensor measures thief hatch states Read More
Decision Support SoftwareOpinion: The Missing Link in Precision Agriculture
March 15, 2018
The agtech boom over the last two years is indeed astonishing. Farmers are becoming more open to new, emerging technologies Read More
Sensors/IoTEstimating Field Weather and Soil Conditions
March 15, 2018
There is a favorite expression of mine that I love to apply to meteorology: “Measure with a micrometer, mark it Read More
Filling The Planter from Cab
Service ProvidersPrecision Agriculture: What is it?
March 15, 2018
If we look at the title of the article, all of you will come to an answer. These answers will Read More
Business ManagementBeing a Great Team Player in the Precision Agriculture …
March 15, 2018
Only great team players who are great teammates, have the potential to get championship results. Each player on the team Read More
AmericasJanzen: What You Need to Know About Congress’ Agr…
March 15, 2018
Via Janzen Ag Law Blog: Senators Amy Klobuchar and John Thune have introduced Senate Bill 2487, the “Agricultural Data Act Read More
Farmer tractor tablet
Data ManagementAg’s Digital Revolution: What’s Holding Us Back?
March 15, 2018
Data is undeniably a valuable asset. Yet, in the ag ecosystem, who’s seeing the value from it? A recent article Read More
PrecisionAg InstitutePrecisionAg Institute Whitepaper Library
March 14, 2018
Welcome to the PrecisionAg Institute Whitepaper library! Here you will find free whitepapers and case studies from the PrecisionAg Institute Partners Read More
Africa/Middle EastAgTech Startup Wefarm Secures New Financing Round
March 14, 2018
Wefarm, the world’s largest farmer-to-farmer digital network, has secured $5 million in additional seed funding, led by Silicon-Valley based True Read More
Spensa platform
Industry NewsAg Tech News: DTN Acquires Spensa to Boost Predictive M…
March 14, 2018
DTN announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Spensa Technologies, according to a press release on Read More
Industry NewsAg Tech News: BioLumic Garners $5 Million in Series A
March 14, 2018
BioLumic, creators of the first ultraviolet (UV) crop yield enhancement system, today announced the close of $5 million in Series A financing. Read More
UAV drone
DronesFlorida Specialty Crops: Realizing the Benefits of Prec…
March 13, 2018
Dr. Yiannis Ampatzidis recently joined the faculty at UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC) in Immokalee, writes Frank Read More
Data ManagementAgReliant Genetics, The Climate Corp. Collaborate on Da…
March 13, 2018
AgReliant Genetics, the third largest seed company in North America, and The Climate Corp., a subsidiary of Monsanto Co., have Read More
Sensors/IoT6 IoT Trends to Watch in 2018
March 9, 2018
With increased value provided by edge computing to security improvements with Blockchain integration, IoT platforms across the board are just Read More
EuropeJohn Deere to Acquire Carbon Fiber Boom Manufacturer in…
March 9, 2018
Agriculture is a tough business to be in, even with a booming economy the ag world is still taking its Read More
Data ManagementOpinion: Ag Data Sells, But Who’s Buying?
March 9, 2018
Indulge me and let’s beat a dead horse together. We all know that data is a huge deal these days. Read More
Industry NewsAutonomous Solutions Announces Autonomous Vehicle Pilot…
March 7, 2018
Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) technology will be used in two pilot programs with large scale commercial growers in California. A Read More