To explore their passion for agriculture, Kyle Schmit and two of his high school classmates founded Precision Point LLC, a precision farming product and services retailer in 2014 in Osmond, Neb. Collaborating with Farmers Business Network (FBN) this past March has taken their mission to help farmers do more with less and maximize precision practices on their operation to the next level.
We caught up with Schmit to discuss the evolution of the company and the impact of FBN on its ability to enhance existing services and develop new ones for customers.
Q: Explain the scope of precision services currently offered by your precision business.
Kyle Schmit: We’re split into two areas. We’re a Precision Planting dealer and we’ve had good luck finding people who really didn’t know a lot about the product line and helping farms of all sizes start to take control of their planter pass to capture more yield. Then the other area is centered around precision water management. We do that in two ways — through the use of capacitance-type soil moisture probes and Variable Rate Irrigation based off of soil EC data.
Q: Did you originally offer a full suite of services, or did you initially only sell precision hardware?
Schmit: We started out selling both products and services on the moisture probe side of things. It’s almost essential that we do both. We don’t just sell a grower a moisture probe station because every growing season is different. If we don’t sell them with agronomic services, a lot of growers end up not putting the probe back into any of their fields, or they have a hard time seeing the value in it if they aren’t able to interpret the probe data.
Q: What attracted you to Farmers Business Network?
Schmit: It gives farmers a chance to band together and push back against some external pressures they see in today’s production ag marketplace. The seed fi nder helps them select the best seed for their farm and that’s really a big advantage for a lot of growers. It fi ts in with our mission to help farmers do more with less and do what fits for their operation.
Q: How has FBN been successful within the dealership’s precision service model so far?
Schmit: The price transparency and FBN Direct tools have already yielded some advantage and benefi for the growers who have signed up because it’s enabled them to see a snapshot of what other growers are paying for similar products as well as increase their options for purchasing when they may not be able to negotiate or source desired products from a local retailer. There are select products where they could save quite a bit of money buying them through FBN Direct. It’s at the discretion of the grower how they choose to use their services.
Q: Explain how FBN helps you bridge the gap from hardware to agronomic service.
Schmit: FBN’s ability to take data in copious amounts and not only process it retroactively or presently, but also do it without a per acre fee is a really big attraction for a lot of growers. On top of that, the fact that they take the data and put it into a larger aggregate anonymously so farmers can gain even more insight from it is what precision agriculture’s been looking for. It’s like being able to conduct research on real farm acres across the nation; and unlike small university or retailer plots, you can take what you learn from FBN and put it into practice with a high degree of confidence. Until FBN came along that wasn’t feasibly or economically possible.
Q: How do you promote FBN to your growers?
Schmit: We don’t necessarily pick and choose, but there are a few growers we know might have quite a few years of data that is, for the most part, collecting digital dust. Right now we’re trying to focus on growers that have quite a few acres or quite a few years worth of data because they more growers we sign up within our region, the more powerful the network becomes for our local FBN members.