A Kumbaya Moment (OPINION)

In attempting to write this column, I stumbled upon a mystery that even the Internet, that vast bastion of truth, has not clearly declared an answer. I was looking for the absolute origin of one of my favorite lines — “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” — and while I won’t get into it here, suffice to say that we may never know for sure.

Anyway, I wanted to be able to attribute it accurately and use it as a springboard for where precision ag, data sharing and wireless data transfer is today. For as long as I can remember, the big OEM manufacturers and aftermarket companies have been in an all-out war for the biggest share of the grower pie, by any means possible. Collaboration among and between companies was limited and controlled, and often of little value to service providers and growers whose choice of equipment strayed beyond one or two colors.

But there’s been a real watershed shift toward collaboration over the past year or so, matching all measure of previously unimaginable bedfellows, sharing information and in unprecedented ways. Manufacturers are offering to share their application programming interface, or API, to allow data to flow among and between machinery, computers, software programs and the cloud.

On a recent trip to the Des Moines, IA, area, I stopped to chat with folks at both DuPont Pioneer and John Deere Integrated Solutions Group (ISG) to learn more about what they are doing on the technology front, and their current views on collaboration.

Both companies are saying the right things, and the spirit of collaboration with other industry entities is apparent.

The people at Deere shared presentations and gave me access to a wide range of managers. I heard things like, “nobody owns the customer,” and “we know we can’t provide everything to every farmer,” things that honestly weren’t generally spoken before. I got a few managers one-on-one and ground-truthed the collaboration message, and I think it’s truly ingrained in the organization.

So, we’re in the throes of an interesting “kumbaya moment” in ag technology, with most companies choosing to be more open, picking partners and hoping to earn loyalty and, eventually, some form of revenue stream, in the future.

Ultimately, there will be winners and losers — there are simply too many organizations in the market vying for grower business. And it all has to get paid for somehow. When it comes to wireless data transfer, weather and climate information, agronomic recommendations, etc., how is it going to work? Who is going to be able to charge for these services? Will anyone be able to charge for these services? Will it be administered through ag retailers? Equipment dealers? The manufacturers themselves?

Many of these questions are impossible to answer right now, so in the meantime, we’re holding hands and singing, keeping our friends close and our “enemies” closer. It’s going to be one interesting ride.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “A Kumbaya Moment (OPINION)

  1. The bastion of truth says:

    “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” has often been attributed to Sun Tzu and sometimes to Niccolò Machiavelli or Petrarch, but there are no published sources yet found which predate its use by “Michael Corleone” in The Godfather Part II (1974), written by Mario Puzo & Francis Ford Coppola: “My father taught me many things here — he taught me in this room. He taught me — keep your friends close but your enemies closer.”

    Works for me…;)

Opinion Stories
Eric SfiligojWar And Green Peace
October 11, 2014
A one-time member of Green Peace recently explained why he left the organization after 15 years. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Resurgence Of Crop Protection
August 4, 2014
Plenty of new offerings over the next few years should see a rebirth for the crop protection products category in terms of market share. Read More
OpinionAl In The Family (A Tribute)
July 2, 2014
After a nice 30-year run with our company, long-time Publisher Al Strohmaier officially retired on June 30. Here, we honor his time with our organization with a short tribute article written by one of his equally long-serving co-workers. Read More
Paul SchrimpfWorking With Walmart
June 2, 2014
It's critical for agriculture to have seats at the table as the mega-retailer works out its definition of sustainability. Read More
Top 100 Articles
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
corn field
CropLife 100The Andersons’ Humic DG Now Available In Canada
February 13, 2015
The Andersons, Inc. Turf & Specialty Group has announced its Humic DG product is now available to customers in the Canadian turf, agriculture and horticulture markets. Read More
Farmer on tablet
CropLife 100Southern States Co-op: An Inside Look At Our Aerial Imagery Program
February 8, 2015
Now is as good a time as any to explore the basics of what a retail aerial imagery program looks like today. Read More
Latest News
Industry NewsHighway Equipment Appoints New Director Of Business Dev…
March 2, 2015
Cory Venable, who joined Highway Equipment Company (HECO) in 2013 as OEM Account Manager, has been promoted to Director of Business Development. Read More
Prairieland FS employees
Eric SfiligojWorkforce Worries
March 2, 2015
Finding good employees almost always ranks as the No. 1 or No. 2 problem for ag retailers in our annual CropLife 100 survey. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location I…
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
Management2,4-D Celebrates 70 Years; GROWMARK Uses Super Bowl Ad …
February 27, 2015
Jim Gray, executive director of the 2,4-D Research Task Force, lays out planned activities to mark the chemistry’s 70th anniversary. Read More
HerbicidesUniversity Of Arkansas Flag The Technology Program Adds…
February 27, 2015
Started in 2010, the Flag the Technology program provides a visual reference for applicators to distinguish between fields planted with different herbicide-tolerant trait technologies. Read More
Luckey Farmers, Inc.’s Berkey Farm Center
Industry NewsLuckey Farmers’ Berkey Branch Certified In 4R Nut…
February 26, 2015
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced Luckey Farmers Inc.’s Berkey Farm Center in northwest Ohio has been added to its growing list of nutrient service providers to achieve certified status. Read More
Crop InputsWinField Unveiling NutriVision Technology, Ascend Dry F…
February 24, 2015
New for 2015 are NutriVision Technology, a unique tool for monitoring in-season plant nutrient availability, and Ascend WSG plant growth regulator, a new dry formulation of Ascend plant growth regulator. Read More
FertilizerNew Formulation Of NutriSphere-N Protects High Volume U…
February 24, 2015
Verdesian Life Sciences is launching NutriSphere-N HVTM, a new polymer formulation of the proven NutriSphere-N Nitrogen Fertilizer Manager that protects high-volume applications of UAN. Read More
EquipmentIowa Ag Secretary Northey Names Hagie Water Quality Lea…
February 24, 2015
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has named Hagie Mfg. as a recipient of the Secretary’s Water Quality Initiative (WQI) Leader Award. Read More
FungicidesEvito Fungicide Gives Canadian Wheat Growers New Diseas…
February 24, 2015
EVITO fungicide from Arysta LifeScience North America gives Canadian wheat and barley growers a new option for disease control. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Commodity Classic Turns 20
February 23, 2015
Two decades in, this annual gathering of all things agriculture has become a must-see event. Read More
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
ManagementCropLife Retail Week: On The Road Edition
February 20, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent trips to the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville and the Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes Acquires FLM+ Assets
February 19, 2015
FLM+ will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O'Lakes, Inc., and the company will retain its employee base after closing of the deal, which is scheduled for the second quarter of the year. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnited Suppliers, Stine Seed Form Marketing Alliance
February 19, 2015
The new alliance will greatly expand sales opportunities for Stine Seed with the United Supplier Seed Link Owners. Read More
Crop InputsVilsack To Deliver Commodity Classic Keynote Address
February 19, 2015
The secretary will deliver a keynote address to several thousand farmers and ag allies during the event's General Session, to be held Friday, February 27, in Phoenix, AZ. Read More