Scouting is a service that keeps your dealership top-of-mind in a positive manner with growers throughout the season — creating money-making opportunities.
“A lot of what we do is face-to-face contact,” says Dan Armbruster, agronomy salesman at Cooperative Elevators Co., Pigeon, MI. “It actually works pretty well. It’s another reason to be in front of the farmer, another sales tool that will show the guy that you’re out there trying to make him some money rather than just take the money from him.”
With a longer growing season than many parts of the country, Stanislaus Farm Supply, headquartered in Modesto, CA, gets lots of face time with its growers. “We’re not checking just one crop at a time, either,” says Sales Manager Don Fantazia. Stanislaus’ lone scout and 12 Pest Control Advisors/Certified Crop Advisers a range of crops — including alfalfa, silage corn, small grains, and tree crops — in Stanislaus, Merced, and San Joaquin counties. “They’re constantly checking the various crops because there are different pests that appear throughout the year.”
Like many retailers, Stanislaus chooses the include the labor charges of scouting in with the grower’s material costs. While some crops may require just a couple visits, a crop like alfalfa requires intensive monitoring of the Egyptian alfalfa weevil through the second cutting. “That’s quite a few trips out there for a single spray,” says Fantazia.
Other retailers choose to charge separately for scouting across the board, and still others only charge for scouting when the customer has not purchased inputs at the location.