With the holiday season nearly upon us, I largely look forward to this time of year and the opportunity to spend time with family and friends.
But one aspect that gives me annual fits is trying to coax my oldest son into dressing up for the occasion. Every year is a battle of wills to get shirt buttoned, shoes tied and hair combed.
However, I’m growing more sympathetic because my son admitted the reason he doesn’t like dressing up is because the clothes never fit right. Such is the wardrobe plight of a growing 6-year-old, but nobody wants to be uncomfortably squeezed into pants that are too tight or constantly tug at the shoulders of a shirt that is too big.
Short of tailoring a suit for my son, there’s probably a happy medium to keep everyone’s holiday spirits up.
Such is the case with precision farming, in that dealers need to be aware that one size doesn’t fit all. When chatting with dealers about their experience selling and servicing technology, some have their finger on the pulse of what suits customers best in their area.
The owner of a precision-only dealership in central California I recently spoke with, says the business model he’s developed wouldn’t have much success in the Midwest.
“Out here, there’s not many iron dealers that sell precision equipment and it’s very much a secondary business for them,” he says. “In the Midwest, it’s a lot more competitive and technology is much more prevalent.”
The bread and butter products for the owner in California are auto-guidance and RTK systems to suit the high volume of fruit and vegetable farmers. But beyond those systems, he says the market for technology isn’t as robust as in other parts of the country.
There are barriers — both cultural and economical — which make it hard for equipment dealerships to dedicate the time and effort needed to grow precision operations.
Unlike Midwestern farms, which may be family owned and operated, farm management in California is often more complex. Farms often have an owner, mid-manager, tractor foreman, irrigation foreman and potentially 10-12 different operators jumping in and out of the cab, some of whom are migrant workers.
“It’s a challenge because that manager probably has no idea how much we show up on the farm because we deal with so many different people,” the precision owner says. “But as long the equipment keeps working, they’ll keep buying more.”
He admits that the dealership gives away a fair amount of service for free, but it’s a byproduct of maintaining a loyal customer base. However, service agreements are something the owner plans to explore in the future.
“We’re thinking more about charging, and a lot of our customers probably don’t know how good they have it,” he says. “Right now, there are not many alternatives for their precision needs out here.”