Be the Advocate Your Farmers Need Right Now
Nov 19, 2019
Farmers need someone in their corner. They’re being challenged by weather, tough markets, uncertain trade policies and several years of declining income. On top of that, farmers are being scrutinized for how they do their jobs by consumers who may not understand what it takes to feed a growing population.
As retailers, we have an incredible responsibility to advocate for and support the farmers we work with. The co-op I serve, Central Farm Service, was thrilled to appear on a recent 60 Minutes episode that highlighted how farmers are doing their jobs more sustainably and efficiently with the help of technology. This was a feel-good experience, but it doesn’t take a big-splash TV moment to advocate and provide value for your farmers.
Here’s what I feel the most successful retailers already do well:
If we’re not advancing farmer operations or providing a service at a competitive price, we’re not doing our job. Retailers who are transparent, responsive, and willing to evolve will always have the competitive advantage. This has been one of the most challenging years I can remember, and as a farmer-owned co-op we feel the pain that our farmers do. Our goal is to empower our owners to run their businesses as profitably as they can. That means providing the data and insights they need to weigh their options and mitigate the risks they’re facing.
It may also mean helping them see the value in the products and services provided to them compared to other options. Empowering them to talk about the value proposition the retailer offers is important, as it enables a deeper conversation about their business.
Make yourself indispensable (or someone else will)
Agriculture is changing rapidly. The way our farmers want to do business is changing as well. Technology is making it easier than ever to stay connected and improve efficiency on the farm. Ag technology will become even more important for farmers to remain competitive in the future, which means retailers need to be in-tune with how ag tech tools are evolving. The most successful retailers will be those who can adapt quickly to the changes happening in the industry and those who can find new ways to meet the needs of tomorrow’s farmer.
The safe bet seems to be that tomorrow’s farmer will take greater advantage of digital than a farmer does today. Retailers need to invest in people and technology if they wish to remain relevant in the next decade. If you’re not looking to evolve their business, I can guarantee there is someone out there who is.
Take advantage of strong partnerships
Being a WinField United retailer gives you access to the industry’s best data, latest research, state-of-the-art technology tools and local agronomic experts. If you’re not taking advantage of these benefits, you’re doing your farmers a disservice. In addition, WinField United offers retailers an opportunity to partner with them to develop an omni-channel business strategy, which can add convenience, transparency, and improved customization for your farmers.
Undoubtedly you’re feeling the pains that your farmers are feeling, just like we are. But it’s a great time to reevaluate how you’re creating value for your customers and to make changes to help meet the needs of your farmers.