Since becoming the technology editor for Farm Equipment and No-Till Farmer last year, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know numerous precision farming technicians — many in person — during dealer visits and industry events.

Each encounter gives me a chance to learn about how these innovators are improving how their customers farm through the products they sell and support.

One question I’ll always ask is “What keeps you up at night?”

The replies run the gamut of worrying about hardware compatibility issues between two different brands to where to find more help.

I’ve yet to meet a precision farming dealer who claims it’s an easy job.

Inevitably, we’ll touch on topics that get specialists scratching their heads or sometimes shaking their fists.

“There’s a fair share of frustration,” is what one precision ag specialist in Iowa told me. “For a lot of us, it’s getting thrown to the wolves and figuring it out along the way.”

Of course, some dealerships are ahead of the precision curve — as you will see with our first “Most Valuable Dealership” recipient in this issue — while others are taking their first steps into the advanced realm.

But nobody has all the answers, and as rapidly as precision farming technology is evolving and improving, it’s safe to say nobody ever will.

Since January 2012, with the launch of our Precision Farming Dealer e-newsletter, we’ve focused on helping our precision dealer audience solve some of those technological mysteries and provide an interactive platform to share and learn from each other.

Whether it’s figuring out the best way to manage the time of precision personnel, or deciding how to present telematic service to customers, our twice-a-month e-editions strive to get dealers talking with one another, in their own words.

Seeing a need to advance this conversation with greater depth, our editors are proud to present this first print edition now in your hands, which is accompanied online with our enhanced digital edition.

We’ve also launched the website as a resource for the latest news, videos and advice from precision dealers.

These are opportunities for us to dig deeper into some of the topics that are on your radar today, while also peering into the future.

What was cutting-edge five years ago is already out-of-date. And today’s farm technology will certainly look different a few years from now.

For example, autonomous farm equipment and fleets of remote control “R2-D2s” harvesting crops are on the horizon.

One of my favorite parts of this job is listening to precision dealers talk about the future of technology and what it will do for farm customers.

Quite often, they will confidently say that the possibilities are endless and if someone thinks of a solution, it’s probably being developed as we speak.

Many of the precision ag specialists I’ve met are evolving and adapting right along with the technology they sell and service.

Dealerships are scouring colleges and universities for the next generation of precision specialist to bridge the knowledge gap between those developing technology with the growers who will use it to increase efficiency and profitability on their farms.

As one precision ag dealer told me, what keeps him up at night is a fear that he won’t be able to take advantage of all the available opportunities to grow his business.

We plan to grow along with our audience — to educate, inform and at times provoke.

Hopefully, you find value within these 56 pages that you can put to work at your dealership today, throughout the entire year and beyond.