It’s easy to preach a top-down commitment to develop a profitable precision farming business. But how much of an investment — both financially and time wise — does that really require from ownership?

Managing a dealership hasn’t gotten any easier in recent years, and talking with leadership and large and small-store operations, some are still scratching their heads over where to take their precision business in the future. 

Attending a precision peer group of Case IH dealers in July, the geographically-diverse attendees exchanged challenges and outlooks for their precision business. Several conversations centered on structure and management of precision staff. 

A few dealerships had recently lost long-tenured precision employees or were on the cusp of reinventing their entire department. At the start of my presentation to the group, I asked how many in the room felt like they were behind the curve with their precision progress. 

Several hands shot up, so I followed up with another question: How many feel like they are ahead of the curve? Not a single hand was raised, but throughout the course of the day, it was clear at least a few dealers were selling themselves short in terms of progress. 

A handful of dealer principles participated in the meeting, and one anecdote struck a chord with attendees, as a lesson in active ownership of a dealership’s precision business. The owner shared a story of doing a monitor installation — an exercise he found both rewarding and frustrating.

The experience gave him an appreciation for the work his precision specialists live and breathe on a daily basis, along with complexity and incompatibility that still comes with today’s ag technology. 

Other attendees applauded the owner’s ambition and initiative to get invested in his department on a deeper level. While it’s not an approach every owner might take, the key is to progressing a precision business is to avoid being a passive observer and find opportunities to be an active owner. 

Defining structure and responsibilities of a precision farming business will be a topic at the 2020 Precision Farming Dealer Summit, Jan. 6-7 in St. Louis. Stay tuned for more information and speaker announcements coming soon.