The last several years have seen rapid changes in competition and collaboration within the precision farming industry. Major manufacturers have been active in acquiring boutique precision companies to complement equipment offerings.

Just this week, CNH announced its acquisition of precision data company, AgDNA, to enhance its fleet management and telematics offerings.

As specialty companies are being absorbed into larger machinery manufacturers, there is increased need for versatility, adaptability and innovation with sales and service — common attributes of independent precision dealers.

At the 2019 Farm Progress Show, I caught up with several precision farming manufacturers to find out how their relationship and  expectation of independent dealers have evolved in recent years in relation to OEMs dealers in the precision space.

Gregg Sauder, who launched Precision Planting and 360 Yield Center, spoke on the unique value of today’s independent precision dealer and what he looks for in a business relationship.

“You'll see a lot of them [independent dealers] will carry maybe one or two different lines, and there's always this close synergy between the product. A lot of them will have some type of a gen three or gen two monitor, and they understand data's where it's at. And so, they help the grower get as much data requisition, and help them also understand what they are looking at when they bring that data back out. They're analyzing yield maps, and Lidar maps and all the different things that we look at, and asking ‘How do we take that grower, that farmer to the next step?’

So the professional independent that has the right amount of relationship with a bank — he's got a large line of credit so he can stock, he can invest in the technology — those are the ones that we see taking really large steps ahead. Their sales growth each year is well over 20%. So each year, we see them growing 20-30% in their sales, and then the success that follows that is really, really fun to watch.”

Sauder adds that independent dealers are often well-positioned to be business integrators, working with customers across multiple platforms and equipment brands..