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

Service Providers Stories
Digital-Farming
Business Management7 Factors That Could Make or Break Digital Farming
April 13, 2018
Digital farming is the new technology genie – a genie that is now out of the bottle and cannot be Read More
SDSU-drone
Business ManagementInside the Key Strategies For Selling Precision Ag Services
April 13, 2018
In its earliest manifestation, the motive for developing precision agriculture service was entirely pure. Agronomists knew that crops were responding Read More
aggateway
Business ManagementAgGateway Encourages Use of Standard Identifiers with AGIIS Subscription Promotion
April 11, 2018
AgGateway, the non-profit organization with the mission to promote and enable the industry’s transition to digital agriculture, is offering a Read More
Data ManagementREPORT: Bayer’s Digital Farming Business Slated for BASF Takeover
April 11, 2018
Germany’s Bayer plans to sell its digital farming business to BASF as part of changes to concessions it has offered Read More
Trending Articles
SDSU-drone
Business ManagementInside the Key Strategies For Selling Precision Ag Services
April 13, 2018
In its earliest manifestation, the motive for developing precision agriculture service was entirely pure. Agronomists knew that crops were responding Read More
CROO Robotics’ automated strawberry harvester
Robotics/Labor SaversSpecialty Crops: Get in Gear Now for Agriculture’s Robotic Revolution
April 11, 2018
While the immigration debate rages on in Washington, DC, with little chance for reform in sight, the uncertain labor picture Read More
InSiteDCM
Business ManagementDelivering on Ag Data Value
April 3, 2018
Bruce Baier is another deeply experienced precision agriculture manager who survived the early years of ag technology while riding the Read More
University-of-Georgia-photo-credit-USDA
Business Management25 Best Colleges for Precision Agriculture
March 21, 2018
Choosing the right college is a process. It’s one that I’m just now embarking on with my teenage daughter. Long Read More
Farmer-tablet
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
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
Latest News
Industry NewsClimate Corp Announces 5 New FieldView Integrations
April 23, 2018
The Climate Corporation announced the addition of five industry-leading partners to The Climate Corporation’s Climate FieldView digital agriculture platform. The Read More
Laura_Crook_WinterWheat_Blackgrass_PrecisionAg
Industry NewsKansas Software Outfit Ag Developer Announces agX Integ…
April 23, 2018
Ag Developer, a Kansas based software development company, is simplifying grower/advisor communications by connecting to the agX Platform, according to Read More
field_in_back_1000_wd-featured-image
Industry NewsAyrstone Introduces High-Speed WiFi System for Farms
April 20, 2018
WiFi has become a necessity, and a proliferation of new WiFi devices have come to market for urban homes and Read More
Indian-Agriculture
AsiaIndian IoT Platform for Pre and Post Harvest Raises See…
April 19, 2018
Indian startup AgNext has raised an undisclosed seed round led by India-focused Agtech VC Omnivore Partners along with Singaporean angel Read More
Bayer-Forward-Farming
Industry NewsMaryland Farm Opens as Hub of Learning about Sustainabl…
April 19, 2018
Fourth-generation Maryland farmer Trey Hill measures the success of his operation not just by how many bushels of corn, soybeans, Read More
THRIVE
Industry NewsAgritech Startup Backers Announce New Corporate Partner…
April 18, 2018
Entering its fourth year, the THRIVE Venture & Innovation platform announced today the nine finalists and investment in its spring Read More
computer-in-field
EventsFinding Our Way in the Business of Precision Agricultur…
April 17, 2018
Service providers are the essential link between precision agriculture products and practices and the farmers who are increasingly relying on Read More
Farm-Storm-Clouds-Photo-Eden-Hills
Data ManagementThe Precipitation Problem in Agriculture
April 17, 2018
Precipitation is arguably the most important agricultural weather parameter, yet it is the most difficult variable to precisely measure. For Read More
Digital-Farming
Business Management7 Factors That Could Make or Break Digital Farming
April 13, 2018
Digital farming is the new technology genie – a genie that is now out of the bottle and cannot be Read More
SDSU-drone
Business ManagementInside the Key Strategies For Selling Precision Ag Serv…
April 13, 2018
In its earliest manifestation, the motive for developing precision agriculture service was entirely pure. Agronomists knew that crops were responding Read More
Facebook-phone
Data ManagementWhat Lessons Can the Ag Industry Learn from the Faceboo…
April 12, 2018
Today, a seemingly endless amount of ag data flows from growers’ fields into a host of technology platforms. It is Read More
DronesWhen High Value Crops Meet Inaccessible Areas: How Dron…
April 12, 2018
Avocados are one of the few crops in Chile that can economically be commercially cultivated on hills. On one hand Read More
Almond-trees-blooming
Sensors/IoTWhy Virtual Sensors Could Save California’s At-Ri…
April 12, 2018
To say that the Golden State can lay claim to the title of king of almonds might be an understatement. Read More
AgJunction, InfoAg 2014, Autosteer, GPS
Industry NewsAgJunction Launches Online Store, Low Cost Guidance Sys…
April 12, 2018
AgJunction today announced the opening of the HandsFreeFarm.com online store to bring low-cost, simple-to-use precision agriculture solutions direct to all Read More
aggateway
Business ManagementAgGateway Encourages Use of Standard Identifiers with A…
April 11, 2018
AgGateway, the non-profit organization with the mission to promote and enable the industry’s transition to digital agriculture, is offering a Read More
Remote-Soil-Sensing-Mapping
Imagery/SensingRemote Soil Sensing Enhances Precision Farming, Promote…
April 11, 2018
Precision agriculture management requires understanding soil at increasingly finer scales. Conventional soil sampling and laboratory analyses often lack this granularity Read More
Data ManagementREPORT: Bayer’s Digital Farming Business Slated f…
April 11, 2018
Germany’s Bayer plans to sell its digital farming business to BASF as part of changes to concessions it has offered Read More
Corn
Industry NewsSentera Announces New FieldAgent Features
April 11, 2018
Sentera announces the availability of high-fidelity crop stand, weed pressure mapping, spot scouting maps, and free local image stitching within Read More