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
Business ManagementIvy Tech, Farmers Partner to Help Precision Ag Education
September 20, 2018
Harvest time has taken on a new meaning for some Wabash Valley farmers, and Bobbi Hunt-Kincaid hopes her family’s first Read More
PenelopeNagel
Business ManagementWhy Is Funding a Challenge for Women-Led Agtech Companies?
September 17, 2018
When it comes to women-led agtech companies the funding discussion never seems to cease. In June after the The New Read More
Grower Services & SolutionsDeere-Granular Collaboration Produces New Profit Maps Tool
September 14, 2018
The newest development from the ongoing John Deere-Granular product development and marketing collaboration is Profit Maps, now available to farmers Read More
Business ManagementTop 20 Two-Year Colleges for Precision Agriculture
September 10, 2018
Earlier this year, I compiled a list of the 25 best colleges for precision agriculture. It was quite the process. Read More
Trending Articles
Soil-Hand
Data ManagementAre You Using Your Soil to Its Full Potential?
September 14, 2018
Harvest is progressing across most parts of the U.S. and those growers who aren’t already harvesting are gearing up to Read More
Grower-Retailer
Imagery/SensingAgtech: 10 Things I Hate About You!
September 4, 2018
Before you get bent out of shape from the title, remember if you’ve read my articles before you know I Read More
Kansas State University
Industry NewsKansas State University, Topcon Form Precision Ag Research Partnership
August 30, 2018
Kansas State University and Topcon Agriculture are collaborating to develop tools and systems to advance precision agriculture and support farmers. Read More
Blockchain building block graphic
Specialty CropsIs Blockchain the Future of Food Safety?
August 24, 2018
When the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) was standardized in 1982, permitting the worldwide proliferation of interconnected networks and eventually the Read More
WinField’s Joel Wipperfurth On Empowering Data-Driven Decisions
InfoAg ConferenceOne on One with Joel Wipperfurth, Winfield United
August 15, 2018
Winfield United's Joel Wipperfurth discusses ag technology trends and topics during last month’s InfoAg Conference. Read More
Geosys
Industry NewsUrtheCast to Acquire Geosys from Land O’Lakes in $20 Million Deal
August 15, 2018
UrtheCast Corp. and Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced they have entered a binding term sheet for the purchase of Geosys Read More
Latest News
Business ManagementIvy Tech, Farmers Partner to Help Precision Ag Educatio…
September 20, 2018
Harvest time has taken on a new meaning for some Wabash Valley farmers, and Bobbi Hunt-Kincaid hopes her family’s first Read More
Sensors
Sensors/IoTThe Answer to Agriculture’s Daunting Challenges – Soil …
September 20, 2018
According to the United Nations, 9.6 billion people will live on planet Earth by 2050. Feeding these mouths will require Read More
Google-Earth-Map-featured-image
Data ManagementRainfall Revisited: Accurate Observations and Beyond
September 18, 2018
As a provider of weather analysis and forecast services to the agricultural industry, one of the most common questions I Read More
PenelopeNagel
Business ManagementWhy Is Funding a Challenge for Women-Led Agtech Compani…
September 17, 2018
When it comes to women-led agtech companies the funding discussion never seems to cease. In June after the The New Read More
Mobile Phone in field
Decision Support SoftwareWhy Are 570 Million Farmers Not Yet Using Agricultural …
September 17, 2018
Until recently, using agricultural apps and software was a rare practice among growers. This is now changing. The mass adoption Read More
Soil-Hand
Data ManagementAre You Using Your Soil to Its Full Potential?
September 14, 2018
Harvest is progressing across most parts of the U.S. and those growers who aren’t already harvesting are gearing up to Read More
Grower Services & SolutionsDeere-Granular Collaboration Produces New Profit Maps T…
September 14, 2018
The newest development from the ongoing John Deere-Granular product development and marketing collaboration is Profit Maps, now available to farmers Read More
Wingtra
DronesOpinion: Combining Two Pluses with the WingtraOne UAV
September 13, 2018
For the every-day consumer interested in UAVs, there is an ocean of products from which to choose. This includes the Read More
Farmer-tablet
AsiaShould Agri-Input Manufacturers Outsource E-Commerce to…
September 12, 2018
Editor’s note: Venky Ramachandran is a contributing writer for PrecisionAg.com’s sister site, AgriBusinessGlobal.com. This article was originally published on LinkedIn. Now, Read More
ICON-Link-Licensing_featured-image
Industry NewsValley Irrigation Adds Remote Irrigation Management Opt…
September 11, 2018
Valley Irrigation, an industry leader in smart irrigation solutions, has announced enhancements to its remote management technologies. Multi-Year Licensing In Read More
Reflex-Connect-Agri-Inject-featured-image
Variable Rate ApplicationVariable Rate Fertigation System Expands with Mobile Co…
September 10, 2018
Building on the success of its Reflex Variable Rate Fertigation system, Agri-Inject has taken fluid injection to the next level Read More
Industry NewsTeralytic Earns Ag Data Transparent Certification
September 10, 2018
Soil analytics company Teralytic has completed the Ag Data Transparent certification, affirming that their data use is private, secure, and Read More
Business ManagementTop 20 Two-Year Colleges for Precision Agriculture
September 10, 2018
Earlier this year, I compiled a list of the 25 best colleges for precision agriculture. It was quite the process. Read More
Industry NewsRaven, Topcon Announce Slingshot API Agreement
September 6, 2018
Raven Industries and Topcon Agriculture announced today a licensing agreement for Topcon Agriculture’s use of the Slingshot Application Programming Interface Read More
Tablet Grower
Data ManagementThe Power of Predictive Analytics in Agriculture
September 5, 2018
Years ago if we would have been told computers, data, and technology would be scattered around every farm there may Read More
DronessenseFly Launches eBee X Drone, Breaks Through 1,000 ac…
September 5, 2018
senseFly today reportedly sets a new standard in mapping tools with the launch of the eBee X. Launched with the Read More
AmericasOn The Scene: 2018 Farm Progress Show Wrap Up
September 5, 2018
Former Monsanto President (now Bayer CropScience Chief Operating Office) Brett Begemann’s opening salvo during his first appearance at a Farm Read More
EventsAg Experts Discuss Big Data Challenges in Agriculture
September 5, 2018
Agricultural experts at a Houston conference praised the advancements in unmanned aerial vehicles, sensors, and data-collecting technology used in precision Read More