Ag retailers play a critical role in Canadian agriculture production, and a retailer’s level of influence with farm managers will continue to evolve as technology becomes more integrated with farm operations.
As farms become more sophisticated, what has occurred is the convergence of crop science, equipment and technology. All three components play an equally important role in sustainable and profitable crop production, so it is critical that agronomic recommendations made by ag retail agronomists consider each farm customer’s technology and equipment capabilities.
It is critical to understand why and how farmers are embracing technologies and how ag retailers can align and integrate these adopted farm technologies into their business operations. Are we as ag retailers prepared to participate in, and capitalize on, these upcoming opportunities?
Over the past year, I have had many discussions with partner associations, academics, extension and ag retail agronomists. I saw a disconnect in the understanding of the relationship between farm equipment and technology as it relates to agronomy. There is also a disconnect regarding the next generation of graduating agronomists understanding the level of technology sophistication associated with modern farm equipment.
This past summer, a straw poll of four Canadian university four-year agriculture programs validated the disconnect, indicating an average of 50 per cent of graduates have little to no practical farm experience.
CAAR, in conjunction with sister associations, will lead and support the current and next generation of ag retailer agronomists to strengthen their understanding of:
- How the farm equipment and technology utilized impacts the performance of agronomic recommendations.
- How agronomic recommendations impact the performance and results of technology-managed farm equipment.
We will begin releasing our strategy to address these two agronomic challenges faced by ag retail agronomists at the 2019 CAAR Conference in Winnipeg from Feb. 12-14.
Looking ahead, I see farm customers consulting their ag retail agronomists when considering equipment and technology upgrades, asking: “Does the technology and equipment meet my agronomic goals and evolving practices?”
The final decision remains with the farm customer, but the ag retail agronomist can help them get there.
Executive Director, CAAR
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