Our movement into agronomy has really strengthened our customer relationship, and that’s what it’s all about. Reynolds Farm Equipment is in the relationship business, we just happen to sell green equipment. Our customer relationships are what keeps us in business and Reynolds Agronomy is a strong link in that chain.

Mark TrusterWe have a smaller practice now. I was hired in 2012 and now we have a team of 3. I had my own independent business and Reynolds Agronomy looks a lot like my practice did, but we do variable-rate everything. We don’t sell crop scouting because with only a few of us in the field, we work on many acres and we call our scouting on-call agronomy.

If our clients have an issue, we tell them we’ll be there that day. We assist our clients with on-farm research and trials, helping them get set up. We don’t make herbicide or hybrid recommendations, and we strive to play the independence card. We don’t sell anything that we recommend. We work for some red growers. They’re my favorite, because they’re new customers that we can potentially bring into the fold.

We serve about 10 counties in central Indiana. We’ve been successful in recruiting a few non-Reynolds customers. We’re working on about 45 farms in our area of responsibility, which basically has just scratched the surface.

We’re profitable. It was very important to me to achieve profitability quickly, because I didn’t intend to start down another career path at this stage, so I thought we’d be retained and taken more seriously if we were profitable. And I think that’s the case.

What we found are these unexpected synergies. When I began with Reynolds, most of the sales department viewed the agronomy department as a flash in the pan. A few years later, that relationship is much different. They’ve taken us seriously. We’ve done agronomic and economic analysis on equipment that we’ve shared with them that helps them understand the value of what they’re selling. Even with our service people, this synergy has been real.

Soil fertility is coming into a new age as we get into soil biology health and have objective measurements of soil health.

We’ve had very good luck saving clients a lot of money in soil fertility, but we’re really just scratching the surface. As we learn more about soil health and nutrient replacement and how we can control that from a biological aspect, we will make our clients even more efficient. Imagery can help us manager a N program in corn production — it has the potential to do that.