Adoption Insight

Retailers that sell precision services to growers always face the challenge of showing provable benefits to the potential customer. This is especially true when selling to growers who are new to precision technology. This winter, The PrecisionAg Institute, a precision technology advocacy association managed by the CropLife Media Group, sponsored an in-depth grower research project focused on the adoption of precision technology in the major row crops — corn, soybeans, wheat, and cotton.

Among the myriad findings from the research are insights into what drives adopters to use the technology, and what repels non-adopters. Louis Chavez of Institute research partner dmrkinetic conducted the focus group phase of the research, and he shared some thoughts on the growers’ precision agriculture mindset in a recent interview:

Q: In doing the research, what do you think were the key attitudinal differences between grower-adopters and non-adopters?
A: In my opinion, adopters seemed very excited and enthusiastic about using this technology. I remember one gentleman using the word “passionate” when describing how he felt about the technology. In my opinion, adopters are much like leaders who have a vision and can see beyond the present situation. They talked in terms of successes they currently have, but realize that they will see even greater benefits down the road. While only a few would describe themselves as first adopters, the feeling I got is that they are willing to make the large investment now, knowing that they will reap even greater rewards in the long run. I also sensed somewhat of a competitive attitude among this group.

In my opinion, non-adopters seemed much less optimistic about what technology could do for them. They seemed more deliberate and cautious in describing the benefits of precision agriculture technology. Maybe skepticism is a better word. I sensed that they do not trust technology or what technology can do for their operation. They would much rather rely on the methods (non-technological), which they have used over the years, rather than make a large investment for something they feel may not work for them.

Q: When talking to non-adopters, did you perceive any “openings” for retailers who offer precision agriculture services to discuss these services?
A: The fact that this group was willing to participate in open discussions about precision agriculture technology shows that they are open to the idea. They may need a little more hands-on training, but many of them left the door open for more information.

I believe that sales personnel who serve non-adopters need to be viewed as something other than salespeople trying to sell something. These individuals want someone to come alongside of them and show them how technology can help specifically with their operation. They have fear, anxiety, and are very skeptical. One gentleman expressed: “How can this help my operation?” I think that’s the key for sales people. It may even be helpful for sales personnel to partner with current users planting the same crop and work with non-users to help them better understand the technology.

Q: Cost is most often pointed to as a barrier, but is this really the main factor? What else is in play for non-adopters?
A:
Cost is definitely a factor and concern for non-users so I believe it’s important that this barrier be addressed. While it may not be possible to lower costs, it is possible to offer incentives and other package-priced marketing. One adopter mentioned that grants may be available to growers, and he explained that he received one. Information such as this is important to help non-adopters overcome the price hurdle.

Additionally, profitable return on the initial investment is very important to non-adopters. Somehow, non-adopters must be convinced that this technology, under most circumstances, will pay for itself in the long run. The only way to do this is to educate them on how it can improve their operation. Showing non-adopters data using farms similar to their farms and possibly doing tests with the technology in their operation are important in educating them on the benefits. I believe that non-adopters’ lack of understanding on “how this technology works” and how it can save them money are two of the primary barriers that must be addressed in addition to cost. I believe that if non-adopters were shown how their initial investment would pay for itself in lower input costs and greater yields, they would be more willing to adopt this technology.

One other point that must be addressed is the longevity of the system. Several non-adopters expressed concern that what they purchase in the way of technology today would be obsolete one or two years later.
 
Q: What would be the best course of action for a retailer that is looking to improve service sales success to non-adopters of precision agriculture (segmenting by relevant factors, technical aptitude, etc.)?
A:
I think your points are important and valid. I would add geographic location to that mix. Several non-adopters as well as adopters said that software and technology is often developed using the Midwest farm as the template. Those who do contour, dry-land, and terrace farming do not feel that this technology meets their needs.

Some additional segments could include: type of crop grown, years of farm experience, and attitude toward technology in general. I realize that it may be cost prohibitive to create educational seminars for all of these different segments, but it would make growers feel that retailers are truly trying to meet their individual needs

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

FertilizerCF Industries Terminates Merger Discussions With Yara International
October 21, 2014
CF Industries Holdings and Yara International have terminated their discussions regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
StewardshipThree Ohio Ag Retailers Honored With 4R Certification
October 13, 2014
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced its first three agriculture nutrient service providers to achieve certified status. Read More
FertilizerJ. R. Simplot To Build New Ammonia Plant In Rock Springs, WY
October 7, 2014
The new plant will supply both the Rock Springs, WY, and Pocatello, ID, phosphate fertilizer production locations while having the capacity to meet the company’s next phase of anticipated phosphate expansion plans at Rock Springs. Read More
CropLife 100Hintzsche Fertilizer To Sell Business To Helena
October 2, 2014
Hintzsche Fertilizer of Maple Park, IL, has agreed to sell its business to Helena Chemical Co., Collierville, TN, according to a report on ElburnHerald.com. Read More

Trending Articles

Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
The deadline to vote for the 2014 CropLife IRON Product of the Year is October 31. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More

Latest News

CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Appointments In Plant Food Division
October 22, 2014
GROWMARK, Inc. has announced the three key staff changes in its Plant Food Division. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Appoints New VP Of Finance And Risk Management
October 22, 2014
Wade Mittelstadt has been named GROWMARK Vice President, Financial and Risk Mangement, effective December 1, 2014. Read More
FungicidesEPA Approves BASF In-Furrow Corn Fungicide
October 22, 2014
Field trials show Xanthion In-furrow fungicide provides more rapid emergence, extended residual control and improved seedling health than untreated crops. Read More
EquipmentAgraScout App Available At No Cost To Universities
October 21, 2014
AgraScout, a fast and easy to use mobile crop scouting app, is now available at no cost to University students, Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Program To Provide Relief To Farmers Affe…
October 21, 2014
The USDA has implemented a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought. Read More
ManagementGreenfield Scholars Program Aims To Sustain Agronomy Wo…
October 21, 2014
The program encourages talented students to study agronomy, crop and soil sciences while cultivating networks to develop the necessary workforce to sustain the profession. Read More
Paul SchrimpfPrecision Ag: Taking It To The Hill
October 21, 2014
A new coalition took the good news message of precision agriculture to Washington, DC, last month. Read More
ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million In Small Business Research Gran…
October 21, 2014
The grants will provide high quality, advanced research and development that will lead to technological innovations and solutions for American agriculture. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Terminates Merger Discussions With Yara I…
October 21, 2014
CF Industries Holdings and Yara International have terminated their discussions regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Ranked A Top 10 Biotech Employer For Third tim…
October 20, 2014
Syngenta ranked in the top 10 among the world’s top biotech employers, according to an annual survey conducted by Science magazine. Read More
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Break Ground For New Facility At Kennebec
October 20, 2014
Wheat Growers has broke ground for a state-of-the-art shuttle loader grain handling, fertilizer and agronomy facility in Kennebec, SD. Read More
FertilizerVerdesian Life Sciences Signs Agreement With Los Alamos…
October 20, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences has signed a licensing agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop and market LANL’s latest nitrogen enhancement technology for plants. Read More
MicronutrientsStoller Group Announces Groundbreaking At New Office Bu…
October 20, 2014
Jerry Stoller, founder and president of Stoller Group, announced the groundbreaking at the site of the company’s future headquarters in Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Opens New Production Facility In Nevada
October 20, 2014
BioSafe Systems has completed construction of a state-of-art production facility in Sparks, NV, for its line of activated peroxygen products. Read More
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScien…
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechEPA Approves Dow’s Enlist Duo Herbicide
October 15, 2014
The Enlist Weed Control System, breakthrough technology to fight resistant and tough weeds, has received the long-awaited green light from federal regulatory authorities. Read More
MicronutrientsGypsum On Farms Could Help Keep Water Clean, Not Green
October 14, 2014
Gypsum, which has roots in the past as a farm soil treatment, also may have a bright future, and not just as a booster of crops but also as a protector of water. Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Crop InputsVerdesian Grows Sales Staff
October 14, 2014
The new account managers will drive sales growth and support relationships with key customers in the plant nutrition and seed treatment and inoculants product categories. Read More