In the world of flashy, glitzy, and HD photography we sometimes loose sight of what is important. Think about it, the world of marketing has changed it’s tactics and ramped up all the best in psychological persuasion. “Smart Ads” that follow you everywhere you go when the internet, and apps for your smartphone that can tell a prospective vendor what you say and do when on social media. We have sure gotten fancy with marketing.
I am old enough to remember a particular television ad from a certain investment firm. The catch phrase was, “we earn your business”. Strange words these days. How many companies put it out there and say they need to earn you business? Instead of paying someone a lot of money to give them an endorsement and try to persuade you by doing so?
During my time in the agriculture retail industry, I had the opportunity to see and hear many things. The industry isn’t that diverse really. Many of us may work for two or three different employers during our career, but we still know each other. We would get to hear the good and not so good about the industry and time, and again the ones who provided the best customer service would be the ones who would always be the most respected. Their reputations proceeded them in a good way, and people knew that if you worked for a certain company you were probably pretty darn good. Over the years, I developed my catch phrase as to what it was all that made a good retailer. What qualities were necessary for both the employer and the employee? Finally, I chose the phrase, “Commitment…..Integrity…..Service”.
The Pride of the Agronomist
Folks, a good looking field of crops is a billboard of advertisement. I always made sure we worked hard to have key growers at key road intersections so that we could show off our services. Good agronomists are sought out in the local community. They are worth a premium for the knowledge they bring to the farmer. Today we see mounting pressures being brought to the food industry. The industry will continue to see added regulations and changing demands of both the customer and governing bodies. The professional help of the agronomist will become more vital than ever. Technologies will allow those who are willing to adapt to capture new markets for new opportunities as well as do a better job of marketing what they already grow. However, the aid of a savvy technology adviser will be invaluable. Agriculture will be the Mother of Big Data, You can mark my words. Mr. or Ms. Farmer, you will most likely be seeking the services of a professional agronomy consultant sooner than later.
Let’s get to the Root of it
The Stratus Ag Research Group did a survey of 1,894 farmers in 2014 to ask them how they made purchasing decisions. Please, Employer, Employee, and Customer, take a moment to click on it and read. We all know that quality and service never go out of style, and you simply have to pay for performance.
Folks, farming is the oldest occupation on this earth. And, I am happy to report, that farmers are still true to their form. They don’t buy based on glitz and glimmer. They buy because they know a good, solid professional when they see one! Bull crap doesn’t cut it when growing food and taking care of animals is at stake. They look to those who can bring their “A” game and provide sound guidance.
However, the industry is at a crossroads. I can say that those of us who are Certified Crop Consultants have to sign an Ethics Statement as part of our agreement to be Certified Adviser. Sadly, those ethics become challenged more each year. Glitz, glamour and marketing get in the way of sound, solid advice. Products and services become misused or ill-used, and it hurts. It hurts our industry; it hurts us; it hurts our environment. A fast buck is no substitute for a Solid Dollar of Sound Advice. In the fast-paced world of agronomy and free market competition employers can become tempted to strike deals and do things that are not the best for customer, employee, and, ultimately, employer. For those who make such decisions, please, do yourself, your professional agronomists, and your customers a favor and get back to what made farming great……commitment, integrity, and service.
So, to my Brothers and Sisters in Agronomy I say this: do what’s best for your grower. That field at the crossroads of Main and Prosperity is your field. It is the field with YOUR name on it. It’s your billboard. How proud are you that it is yours?