The Grower Perspective: What I Want From My Ag Retailer

John Reifsteck in cab
Illinois producer John Reifsteck’s experience with precision agriculture is deep and wide, but he values trusted partners.

Henry Ford supposedly remarked, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Now, there is no real evidence that he actually made this observation, but the quote does illustrate one of the dilemmas our industry faces these days: We view technology through the lens of the past and not from a vision of what is possible.

Agriculture is accustomed to a world of defined roles — retailers, equipment manufacturers, seed suppliers, and information technology companies working independently, essentially in their own silos, not connected to each other except through the farmer. The farmer has stood in the middle of that mix, attempting to integrate the value that each of these separate entities brings to the farm operation. It was not a role that farmers necessarily were prepared for, or even wanted. It just happened.

That world is changing. Those defined roles are blurring; the silo walls are being eroded by the need to exchange data easily, seamlessly, and cheaply. It means that relationships are changing, and that includes the interactions between farmers and retailers.

So how does a retailer start the conversation about precision agriculture with a farmer? It starts with a self-assessment. The retailer needs to ask himself or herself some questions. How important is it that I offer these technologies to my customers? Where do I fit in the precision equation? And, how committed am I to making the investments necessary to be a successful partner?

These are not rhetorical questions. Farm operations are diverse, and not all farmers will want or will be willing to pay for precision farming technologies delivered by retailers. That retailer self-assessment is the foundation for the conversation with the customer. As a farmer I want to know what my retailer can do and cannot do as well as their plans for the future. This is the place where the farmer-retailer conversation starts. Among the challenges that retailers must manage are the diverse skills, experience, and expectations that famers have regarding precision farming. I do not anticipate my dealer will be able to answer all of my questions, but I do have expectations they need to meet.

Here is my list of what I want from my retailer:

  • Knowledgeable people. Employees who understand technology and what products are available in the market.
  • Help make it easy. This stuff is complicated. Anything you can do to make it simpler helps. Wireless data transfer, prepopulating existing databases, and good software and web design are all part of easy.
  • To be impressed. Tell me something I do not know about my farm in a way that I understand. Tell me something I can do better.
  • Value. I understand what you do costs money. I just need a return on my investment in your services.
  • Partnership. Precision agriculture is not just a transaction between a retailer and a farmer. Do not treat it that way.
  • Commitment to learning and change. Technology and knowledge change rapidly; you need to partner with me to manage that evolution.
  • Collaboration, not just with me, but with all the other parties I need to work with.

Precision farming has been with us for more than 20 years. This technology is a great opportunity for retailers to add real value to the farmers they serve. Let’s just not be satisfied with faster horses.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “The Grower Perspective: What I Want From My Ag Retailer

  1. Use of meta analysis In dealer’s service area to compare conditions, inputs and results and practices. This evolution in computer power and technology should take place within the decade.

Grower Services & Solutions Stories
Farmer with iPad
Decision Support SoftwareClimate Adds New Features, Restructures FieldView Pricing
August 30, 2017
The Climate Corp. announced at Farm Progress Show the addition of new features and data connectivity enhancements for the 2018 Read More
Grower Services & SolutionsFarmobile Launches Farmobile Pro Tier with Universal File Transfer
August 28, 2017
Farmobile today announced the launch of a new subscription service, Farmobile Pro. Farmobile Pro includes significant technology advancements including the Read More
Grower Services & SolutionsSyngenta, Premier Crop Systems Partner to Offer ROI Analysis Maps
August 28, 2017
Syngenta and Premier Crop Systems announce a commercial partnership to bring growers customized, variable-cost-per-bushel analysis maps — the first of Read More
Data ManagementBASF, Proagrica to Jointly Develop Farm Management System Interface
August 24, 2017
BASF and Proagrica have signed a development and operation agreement to bring one of the first farm management system interfaces Read More
Trending Articles
BASF Maglis grower retailer tablet
Data ManagementWhat Will Happen to My Data? Understanding Your Rights in Precision Agriculture
September 12, 2017
The use of precision agriculture-based decision making to determine fertilizer rates and hybrid types and planting rates is becoming more Read More
Robotics/Labor SaversBlue River, Deere Deal Will Accelerate Farm Robot Innovation
September 11, 2017
No, Blue River Co-founder and CEO Jorge Heraud has not been deposed — Gaddafi-style — by big, bad corporate overlord Read More
Farming at Sunset
Business ManagementAgtech Issues: The Shiny Object Syndrome
September 6, 2017
Do you remember those cartoons where someone lures someone else by placing a piece of candy, small amount of money, Read More
AgQuip overview
Australia/New ZealandAgQuip 2017 Displays New Ag Technology in Australia
August 28, 2017
The annual AgQuip field days took place in Gunnedah, NSW on August 22-24. Being the largest agricultural field days in Read More
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
Latest News
Petra-Andren-Cicada-Innovations
Australia/New ZealandGrowLab’s Rocket Fuel for AgTech in Australia
September 19, 2017
Despite its superpower status as a producer and exporter of agricultural goods and services, up until now Australia has had Read More
CropIn-Team-Photo-credit-BW-Disrupt
AsiaCropIn Aims to be a Global Leader in AgTech Sector
September 19, 2017
Krishna Kumar created AgTech startup, CropIn Technology in 2010, along with co-founders Kunal Prasad and Chittranjan Jena. The trio went Read More
China-Beidou-Navigation-Satellite-System
AsiaChina’s Navigation System Gets Powerful Chip to I…
September 18, 2017
A new powerful chip technology has been introduced in China’s national satellite navigation system to provide high-precision positioning, according to Read More
Tablet Grower
Industry NewsFieldReveal Names Hesse New CEO
September 18, 2017
Matt Hesse has been selected as the Chief Executive Officer of FieldReveal, a newly launched joint venture formed to deliver Read More
John-Deere-labs
Tools & Smart EquipmentHow John Deere’s New AI Lab Is Designing Farm Equipment…
September 15, 2017
On a block in San Francisco’s SoMa district, near LinkedIn’s headquarters and dozens of startups, a 180-year-old company best-known for Read More
Wheat sunrise
Australia/New ZealandSparkLabs Group Launches an Agricultural Tech Accelerat…
September 15, 2017
SparkLabs Group, which claims to be the largest startup accelerator group in Asia, is stepping into agricultural tech with a Read More
Sensors/IoTCollaboration Leverages Internet of Things, Sensors in …
September 15, 2017
The vision of having license-free community sensor networks for agricultural users has made a giant leap closer to reality. A Read More
Young Corn Field
Data ManagementPurdue Online Tool to Help Farmers Make Precision Decis…
September 14, 2017
An innovative online tool developed by a Purdue University engineering professor will allow farmers to process data collected from their Read More
forbes-agtech-summit
Precision IrrigationImproving Water Management: Can Silicon Valley Help?
September 13, 2017
I recently attended the Forbes AgTech Summit in Salinas, CA, where roughly 50 start-up companies originating from Silicon Valley and Read More
Nate-Dorsey-Field-Trial-Curve-Compensation
Systems ManagementField Trial: Precision Application and Curve Compensati…
September 13, 2017
Several months ago I wrote an article about curve compensation in planters and how these systems can help create more Read More
Diamondback moth
Tools & Smart EquipmentTechAccel Invests in Unique Sprayable RNAi Pesticide Te…
September 12, 2017
TechAccel, the Kansas City-based technology and venture development company, has announced it has awarded the first grant under its “Path Read More
BASF Maglis grower retailer tablet
Data ManagementWhat Will Happen to My Data? Understanding Your Rights …
September 12, 2017
The use of precision agriculture-based decision making to determine fertilizer rates and hybrid types and planting rates is becoming more Read More
Terra
Imagery/SensingAerial Imagery Aids Decision-Making
September 12, 2017
As the growing season has progressed, aerial imagery has been part of the world record setting data-collection efforts for Terra, Read More
Hurricane-satellite-image
Decision Support SoftwareKeeping Things in Perspective: Weather vs. Climate in O…
September 12, 2017
As I write this, we are on the heels of catastrophic flooding in Houston due to Hurricane Harvey, and another Read More
Robotics/Labor SaversBlue River, Deere Deal Will Accelerate Farm Robot Innov…
September 11, 2017
No, Blue River Co-founder and CEO Jorge Heraud has not been deposed — Gaddafi-style — by big, bad corporate overlord Read More
India-agriculture
AsiaAgriAI: Deep Learning in Indian Agriculture
September 8, 2017
Since the advent of 20th century, electricity became the main source of invention in every major industry ranging from transportation Read More
Precision Application Field sprayer
EventsHow Will Precision Technology Impact Global Crop Protec…
September 8, 2017
John Deere’s recent acquisition of Blue River Technology (BRT) isn’t just meaningful for farmers. It suggests that the very systems Read More
Data ManagementPrecision Farming: What’s Your Data Worth to You?
September 8, 2017
Today’s farm equipment today comes with more bells, whistles and blinking lights than Captain Nemo’s submarine, and most of those Read More