It’s no secret that in recent years more dealerships — either by choice or by directive — are incorporating agronomic services into their businesses.
Those who have been receptive to adding prescriptive farming options to complement machinery and component sales, have gradually been able to gain traction with customers.
But even as the ag industry transitions to more agronomic-based offerings, breaking into this business can still be a hard sell for equipment dealers — at least initially. Early entry into agronomic services was seen as more of a burden than a benefit, says Bryan Peterman, Integrated Solutions Manager with Atlantic Tractor, an 11-store dealership serving northeastern U.S.
He admits that the early addition of a staff agronomist was done out of obligation, not necessity. But Peterman says the dealership gradually began to see the potential with this side of the business, particularly as a way to bolster its data management service offerings.
“What I’m seeing in the transition right now is that that is helping to support the data management side of our business. The customers who didn’t have a real value in maps — harvest maps, seeding maps, fertilization maps — whether it be them or their ASP (ag service provider), we’re now adding value to farmers to help manage that agronomy side. So whether it’s our agronomist or a farmer’s agronomist, it still supports our IS department and the packages better because we’ve just used them to install value of maps, proper maps and information for managing their operation.”
Peterman admits that one initial concern from salespeople was stepping on the business of local seed and fertilizer retailers already in the agronomy space. But he says the dealership has been able to effectively partner with those service providers by better supporting the equipment and technology behind the agronomic decisions customers are making.