More than a few have told me that there’s no such thing as a “routine” or “typical” day. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and part of the attractiveness of the job. As one specialist told me, “If I were stuck in an office all day, I’d have left this career a long time ago.”

At the same time, there’s so much more for specialists to prioritize today and perhaps with that, more pressure to turn a profit with precision. Roles and responsibilities continue to evolve, fueled not only by new technology, but the direct or peripheral support required from specialists to provide a “complete precision solution” to customers.

A daunting task to be sure, especially as some dealers are exploring uncharted business waters with data management service or unmanned aerial vehicles. But change is inevitable, and the progressive precision dealers understand this as well as anyone. The key is to be prepared for that change, and not let the industry dictate when you make it.

In this issue of Precision Farming Dealer, we present our second annual in-depth report on precision trends and dealer business practices. It’s interesting to see how in just one year’s time, some of the priorities and goals shift for precision dealers to reflect the changing market.

As with last year’s baseline study, we asked dealers to share what they anticipate will be their biggest challenge confronting their business during the next year, and how they plan to deal with it. Many of the responses revealed a collective mindset by dealers to do their best to create change, rather than react to it.

Getting customers to understand the significance of data collection is one goal shared by several dealers, as an entry point to providing these services in the future. “Recognition of the value of data on a customer’s entire operation, and demonstration of that value, return and results with local scenarios,” says one dealer in describing his goals for data collection.

Ongoing, and expanded training of precision specialists, along with customers, is another point of emphasis to address the educational gap still present in precision farming. This coincides with the continuous search for capable hires.

“We’re struggling with finding enough time and personnel to ramp up service programs as fast as customers want to adopt them,” one dealer says. “We need to hire more help.”

And finding a profitable balance between convincing customers that precision service is worth paying for, and then delivering a package that validates the price. “Keeping ahead and promoting new technology and not getting sucked into supporting current technologies for nothing,” is the objective for one dealer.

Certainly, some of these same challenges and proposed solutions will carry over, and new ones will surface in the coming year. But at least dealers are adapting and trying to position their business for long-term success. That’s a change always worth making.