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dependent when it comes to data management, says Harold Reetz, Reetz Agronomics in Monticello, Ill. In other words, equipment dealerships need to give cus- tomers a reason why they should turn to them for data man- agement services. “Don’t take a top mechanic and make him an agronomist,”

Reetz says. “You have to make a serious commitment to do it right, or you will risk bad relationships with customers.” Adding a full-time agronomist is one option for equip-

ment dealerships, but a potentially more efficient option, says Reetz, is partnering with a third-party consultant to handle the agronomic analysis. The benefit for precision ag dealers is being able to serve

as “data managers” for customers, rather than having to hire a full-time agronomist.

“Having a third-party vendor providing the agronomic

Third-party partnerships with independent agronomists is a potentially cost-effective option for precision farming dealers to offer data management service to farm customers.

put someone in a role they can’t handle. “I’ve got technicians who are very mechanically inclined and also guys who are data gurus and don’t like to have grease under their fingernails,” Gittins says. “There is some overlap, but it’s pretty rare.” Since many growers seek their agronomic advice from

their seed or fertilizer dealers, it’s imperative that equipment dealers market themselves as both knowledgeable and in-

service could be a way for dealers to save the overhead cost of another staff person,” Reetz says. “But the dealer can also sell that idea of data management and it’s an opportunity to tie sales of new equipment with that service.”

Keeping it Simple For multi-store dealerships, the ability to cast a wider cus- tomer net through data management offerings is an asset. John Deere dealership 21st Century Equipment LLC oper-

ates 11 stores in Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas and offers several different data management programs, in conjunction with support from local agronomists. “It’s predominantly independent crop consultants in our area.

For us, it comes down to respecting those relationships and work- ing with them if we want people to come back to us,” says Justin

expectations allows us to have that discussion on the agronomic decision support side…

“ — Justin Childears ”

Childears, director of precision ag technology and systems for 21st Century. “So we certainly collaborate with those folks.” But the dealership starts the data management conversa- tion with customers through its internal John Deere Farm- Sight services. This includes an initial meeting with one of six precision ag specialists employed by the dealership and tailoring a data management plan to suit the customer. From there, customers can choose what services they want to


Exceeding their


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