It takes skill to balance lessons from the past with strategy for the future. Unfortunately, 2019 has presented a series of challenges testing that exact skill of those who work in agriculture. We can all list the megatrends driving change: consolidation, trade uncertainty, depressed commodity markets, technology and so forth. Perhaps the biggest curveball this year was out of anyone’s control: Mother Nature. As we see harvest on the horizon—and farmers are already planning for next year’s crop—now is also the time for ag retailers to assess the future.
It’s not a matter of if change will occur but when. Time is an asset, and it’s a limiting factor. Talking with customers, asking questions and offering solutions are valuable ways you can help farmers navigate opportunities and risks. Your time spent with them and your genuine intent to help them be profitable and successful are powerful ways to maintain your role as a trusted adviser. In light of the widespread agronomic issues this year, next year will demand a plan A, plan B, plan C and maybe even more plans. If you’re able to assure farmers that you can serve their needs in whatever scenario, then their confidence in you will grow.
As retailers and service providers have told me when reflecting on 2019, they know farmers will run 24/7 next planting season. With this past spring in the forefront of their memories, no one wants to second-guess a decision to get the crop in the ground. Are you ready?