In putting together the special report on agricultural application technology that will appear in the September issue of Farm Equipment, our editors and contributors interviewed more than a dozen industry experts. These included growers, dealers, system developers and equipment manufacturers of precision farming technology.
Almost to a person, this whole group had one thing in common: they struggle to keep up with all of the new technologies being developed and introduced for agriculture. And this report focused only on the application part of the business.
One dealer who specializes in spraying equipment put it this way: “I’ve been back here running this store since 2004 and every year has been different. I mean, there are new technologies coming into the market that you’ve got to adapt to. There are new nozzles, new sprayers, GPS, auto-steer. Just to keep up with all of this, you’ve got to really stay involved in it.”
“The challenging part for ag retail is we have just as much of a challenge keeping up with the technology as our customers do,” said another dealer. “This technology is changing very, very fast. It’s hard to stay up with everything nowadays.”
The impact of these new far-ranging technologies and precision systems isn’t lost on the manufacturers who are developing them, either. As one told us, “There are just so many options out there. I know a lot of farmers use consultants and agronomists to help them navigate through some of that. But there’s just so much out there that it’s hard to really know, ‘Is this the right thing for my farm?’”
And he admitted that the dealer is the middleman in all of this. “Dealers are critical. They’re the guys on the frontline of understanding the technology and, of course, selling the technology. They need to know a lot about these products so they can provide good advice or good suggestions to the growers as they’re looking for technology or making technology decisions.”
My questions to our dealer readers are these: How are you doing with keeping up with all of this? Are you getting the job done and able to help your customers make good precision investments? And, more importantly, are you making any money selling precision products, service and advice?
As you may remember, earlier this year, more than 100 different dealerships and companies gathered to share, learn and network at our first ever Precision Farming Dealer Summit. The sold out, 2 day event put dealers in a learning-intense environment to discuss actionable, revenue-generating precision farming strategies.
It went over so well, we were encouraged enough to do it again next year. While technology is obviously critical is precision farming, for the dealer making a profit is just as big of a challenge.
So, on Jan. 9-10 in St. Louis, we will present another opportunity for precision farming retailers to gather at the 2nd Precision Farming Dealer Summit. The intimate event will feature networking and idea sharing through general sessions, panel presentations and dealer-moderated roundtable discussions. Summit topics are scheduled to include, innovative solutions to conquering equipment compatibility, effective methods for branding your precision farming business and maximizing productivity and accountability of precision specialists.
Except for the sponsors of the event, this is a “dealer-only” meeting.
And once again, the Summit will be co-located with the Annual National No-Tillage Conference. Stay tuned for conference updates in upcoming issues of Farm Equipment magazine and Precision Farming Dealer and visit PrecisionFarmingDealer.com/pfd-summit-registration for the pre-program discount.