Growing up, I was a fan of the so-called ‘spaghetti’ westerns, especially the ones where Clint Eastwood squinted his way through a series of prolonged gunfights with a lit cigar clenched between his teeth.
Perhaps some of the movies are a bit dated by today’s cinematic standards, but they still paint a distinct picture of unrest on the frontier.
When visiting farm equipment dealerships, I’ve met a few precision specialists who could be considered technology outlaws, but usually only out of necessity. While many dealers want to take a proactive approach training their precision specialists, some may not know where to turn for that training.
College graduates are presumably equipped with at least a working knowledge of precision farming systems, and manufacturers provide ongoing training courses for installation and maintenance of their products.
But in between, there is a training void currently filled with confusion and a little chaos.
“It’s very much the wild west out there,” the owner of consulting firm that offers precision farming training recently told me. “There’s a lot of us vendors vying for market share in this area and competition is increasing, but there’s also a lot of junk.”
There is no doubt opportunity for independent consultants to provide precision training, but it’s likely going to take time for the market to develop, especially for dealers who don’t have the resources to spend on independent training.
“Right now, it’s really hard for dealers to buy into this concept, but it’s education and there’s definitely a need and a market for it,” the consultant says.
This is a topic Precision Farming Dealer is digging into with our new Precision Ag Technology & Training Network (PATTN), included in the first of two print editions in 2014.
When talking with precision specialists, a common concern is being able to keep pace with the evolution of technology and effectively service customers. This likely won’t change anytime soon, but knowing where to potentially find focused training could ease the burden, especially this time of year.
One relatively new precision specialist I visited recently told me that he was in desperate need of additional training prior to harvest. His goal in the coming year is find an independent “mentor” to work with on a regular basis to better prepare himself for next fall. This is one approach specialists may pursue and for the most part, dealers are still exploring the precision training frontier.