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Roundtable Q&A

Precision farming can be handled and defi ned in a variety of ways from one dealer to the next. We sat down with fi ve precision farming specialists, across all colors, to ask them how they defi ne precision farming, what they look for in their precision technicians & where the technology is headed.

Kim Schmidt, Managing Editor Q

How do you defi ne precision farming in terms

of the primary goal of your dealership to sell, service and support farm technology?

Greg Carlson, integrated solu- tions manager, Western Sales, Rosetown, Saskatchewan (John Deere dealer): “As far as how we de- fi ne precision farming, it’s essentially measuring what farmers are able to produce at the end of the day and in- crease their bottom line using precision instruments, whether its electrical con- ductivity mapping, soil sampling and also data collection from the combine for harvest. Then there is the applica- tion part — seeding and fertilizing at

The goal of the dealership is to increase customers’

bottom line and get their repeat business…

the same time, precisely putting it down in areas where it’s more econom- ical and viable for the producer to use — rather than wasting chemicals. That’s basically as precise as we can get it right now. “The goal of the dealership is to increase customers’ bottom line and

get their repeat business. We want the customer to come in for all their needs, whether it’s purchasing farm equip- ment, parts, agronomic needs or just advice. We don’t sell chemicals just the advice on how to use them effi ciently.”

Derek Strunk, technology manager, Altorfer Ag Prod- ucts, Clinton, Ill. (CAT Challenger/ AGCO dealer): “We operated about half the year under the sales depart- ment and since then we have had our own profi t and loss statement. So we are our own department within the Ag Division of Altorfer. It’s a huge part of our dealership. As an equipment deal- er, we see a lot of potential. “It’s been growing leaps and bounds.

In the 2.5 years we’ve been tracking it, we’ve grown roughly 40% per year. Even our equipment sales guys see the importance of it being its own depart- ment as the technology gets more inte- grated into the machines and is a large part of controlling and operating them. “We don’t take it lightly around

here. In 2012, we added fi ve new po- sitions within our technology depart- ment to help with the growing cus- tomer demand.”

Adam Gittins, general man- ager, HTS Ag, Harlan, Iowa

(Precision Ag dealer): “Precision farming is becoming technical enough that the average farmer struggles at times to get it to work properly, confi g- ured and fully implemented. Our role is to be the people in between who under- stand the technology and can assist with guiding them into purchasing the correct equipment to begin with. Then we help them set it up, service, trouble-


shoot and maintain it. We also help an- alyze the data that’s collected. So really that’s our role, to be a service-focused precision ag supplier.”

Darin Kennelly, precision farming specialist, Birkey’s

Farm Stores Inc., Gibson City, Ill. (Case IH dealer): “Precision farming is utilizing information and GPS tech- nology systems to improve effi ciency of equipment and optimize profi tabil- ity for producers. Because we’re an equipment dealer, we really want to utilize precision to optimize the equip- ment and make it more effi cient in the fi eld, whether it’s auto steer on trac- tors or application control on planters and sprayers. “Effi ciency is really our goal in

selling, and servicing. If you service equipment well, you keep the cus- tomer running. It doesn’t matter how much or what type of equipment they have on their machine. If it doesn’t work it’s not effi cient. That’s our main goal as a division.”

Phil Draude, precision ag sales manager, Brokaw Supply Co., Fort Dodge, Iowa (shortline dealer): “We are iron-based, but everything seems to revolve around precision. The fi nal sale comes through preci- sion. I have specifi c sprayer guys and specifi c toolbar guys, but they all have a precision specialist assigned to help fi nish off their sale. They’re the fi nal key to the puzzle to be able to wrap up what the guy has on the farm, how he’s going to integrate it into his farm and how we can work with him on a fi ve-year plan with a one-time sale. “One of the reasons we’ve been

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