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invest in, including soil EC mapping, soil moisture monitoring and variable rate application on a per acre basis. “I like to think there’s three areas of data management — the mechanical, the electrical and the computer software,” Childears notes. “Our goal is to sit down with customers, look at each of those pieces and make them fi t. “Keeping it simple for the end user is pretty important.”

Future Opportunity One way 21st Century sought to make their data manage-

ment services more user friendly is by moving toward a fl ex- ible price structure. “We initially had some complexity from a pricing stand-

point that was making it diffi cult for customers to get their arms around the services,” Childears says. “We tried to es- tablish different levels and that seemed to complicate things, instead of simplify them.”

The dealership has since moved to a less rigid pricing system

that gives customers more fl exibility to package the data man- agement services that best suits their farm.

Childears says the switch is spurring growth in the dealer-

ship’s data management business and eventually he sees the ser- vice structure emulating that of other non-ag professions. “I see this becoming like legal advice or accounting where customers pay a professional fee and they have a clear under- standing of what to expect from that service,” he says. “We’re not there yet, but data management is going to be part of our rev- enue growth in the future and we expect it to be self-suffi cient.” As Gittins puts it, he sees additional opportunity for precision farming dealers as depositories for precision data. Dealerships will maintain and store farmer-owned data.

“Much like farmers or businesses will seek out an accountant

to help them with taxes or tax preparation, I see our role moving forward as data curators,” he says. “We’ll be the ones who will centralize the data coming in from different places and manage that for customers and make sure it’s securely backed up.” But in order to get to that point, Childears says it will take time to convince customers that equip- ment dealerships are equipped to take on data management. For 21st Century, this will come through their success selling and servicing precision products. “It’s building on the reputation we have with customers starting with the sale and right through sup- port of the technology,” Childears says. “Exceeding their expecta- tions allows us to have that discus- sion on the agronomic decision support side.”

The ability to have an individual solely dedicated to data manage- ment collection is another vision of the future for dealers.

While Green Field focuses on PRECISIONFARMINGDEALER.COM ••••• 2013 035

precision ag products and Widmer provides the agronomic ex- pertise, Liskai notes that having a full-time person whose only job is to manage and gather data could be the next step toward increasing the dealership’s data management footprint. “I’d love to see us get to the point of having a computer guru where all they do is go grab data and then generate reports for customers to turn into the FSA on their acreage,” he says. “Right now, we get so wrapped up with getting equipment installed, we’ll get pulled off the computer and tend to value equipment sales more than the record keeping side.”

Don’t Hesitate, Calibrate BONUS DIGITAL CONTENT

Accurate yield monitor data is the fi rst step in showing customers the value of precision data management.

Jack Zemlicka, Technology Editor

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