Technology: A Vital Link Between Ag Retailer and Grower
Jun. 25, 2021
Ag retailers have always been the drivers of progress in the agriculture industry. At their suggestions, farmers adopt new tools, products, and planning methods, which increase yield and efficiency and advance farming practices. Technology has always been at the heart of the ag retail business – and today, retailers have more tech to work with than ever before.
Modern agritech has completely transformed the way farms operate, and new improvements and innovations are hitting the market all the time. Many ag retailers have even looked outside the industry at other business management technology, incorporating customer service management software to serve their grower clients better. While all this technology is no substitute for a good old-fashioned face-to-face meeting on the farm, the right tech can help you build a better relationship with your farmers.
So, what can technology do for your ag retail business?
Benefits of Technology
When we talk about agribusiness, it’s vital to speak about agritech – the tools and software designed specifically to increase your growers’ yield. These products are the bread and butter of most ag retail services, and it’s not hard to see why. Technology like robotic planters, GPS-led soil sampling, and biopesticides offer a variety of perks to your growers, including the following:
Farmers have a lot to do on a day-to-day basis. They have to work the land, care for animals (if they have any), meet with vendors and buyers, and a whole lot more. So your growers are likely to leap at the chance to try out any product or technology that could make their lives just a little easier.
The agritech world is filled with robotic tools that plant seeds, weed fields (without damaging crops), and harvest crops when the time is right. This type of technology can free up your grower’s time, allowing them to focus on more complicated tasks throughout the day.
There are few things more upsetting on a farm than a crop that underperforms unexpectedly. After all, farmers make a living off their land – and it’s an ag retailer’s job to make sure that any efforts are as effective as possible.
There is plenty of tech that can make your grower’s work more efficient. For example, GPS soil sampling can reveal the soil quality at different places around the field, so you never over-water or over-fertilize again. In addition, growers can use new software to plan out their planting for maximum land use. These tools are excellent resources to help your growers enjoy more success on their farms.
When ag retailers and growers work together, they have one primary goal: increase yield. The grower wants to produce more crops that he or she can sell, and the ag retailer wants to help make that happen. Luckily, today’s agritech can help your grower boost their total harvest by increasing production speeds AND giving them the data they need to make smart decisions with their fields.
Benefits of Data Sharing
Since we just mentioned data, it’s worth taking some time here and discussing just how valuable this information can be for your business. As an ag retailer, you should be OBSESSED with data – collecting it, reading it, and presenting it to your growers. Today, we have tons of software, testing technology, and industry reports that can help you gather your data, and all that information can help you build a stronger relationship with your farmers.
According to a 2019 survey from McKinsey, a lack of information is one of the biggest frustrations farmers face when dealing with ag retailers. When a grower hires an ag retailer, they expect the retailer to have the know-how and the industry info necessary to improve their farm. However, they also expect another thing: transparency. The grower-ag retailer relationship is based on trust, and farmers need to understand the “why” behind a retailer’s suggestions if they’re going to trust them.
If you incorporate data technology into your ag retail business, you’ll be able to give your growers detailed, data-driven explanations about topics like these:
Accurate Pricing and Product Comparisons
Ag retailers help their growers succeed by introducing them to new tools and products that can benefit their farms. However, prices fluctuate in the ag industry all the time; if you don’t have access to the latest data on your products, your growers can’t make an informed decision. Real-time data capturing software can help you ensure the most accurate pricing at every meeting – and it can even allow you to compare products with your grower.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: data is an ag retailer’s best friend. The fact is that none of your clients will need the same recommendations to improve the quality of their farm. Some will require a new brand of fertilizer. Others will need to adjust their watering schedule. Others still will need to rotate their crops. But without the specific data you’ve collected at each farm, you’ll never know which suggestions best suit each client. Make sure you make data collection a priority!
Benefits of Communication
The past year has shown everyone (both in the ag community and out) the value of in-person communication. A firm handshake and a face-to-face conversation are vital for our businesses and our mental health, and there’s nothing that can replace human interactions.
HOWEVER, some tech tools can help us stay in touch between trips to the farm. Video conferencing, emails, and other messaging software can help you and your grower bounce ideas off each other and assess problems as soon as possible. Not only will this help you serve your grower even when you can’t physically make it to the farm, but it will also help you make the time you do spend together more efficient!
Technology has always been a critical aspect of ag retail, and these days it’s more important than ever. If you invest in tech that helps you increase a grower’s efficiency, collect data on the farm, and stay in touch even from afar, you’re sure to see actual results for both your clients and your business.
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