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IAfarmerJA
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Farm Business Idea

Hi Everyone,

 

I'm new to this forum. I live in Grundy County, IA, 28 years old, and currently a student at the local community college majoring in Ag business. Not sure what my plans are yet for after college (maybe go on to ISU?) But I always liked the idea of running my own business. Had the thought of starting a soil sampling/GIS mapping service in my area (Grundy Co.) Wondered if there is a demand for such a service? What are your thoughts?

 

I appreciate your input and look forward to speaking to you all.

 

Josh

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12 Replies
Advisor

Re: Farm Business Idea

    It might be something worth considering.  Who would do the actual testing?   My local elevator does it for free..   I do wonder if asking a fertilizer salesman to do soil tests is similar to asking a car salesman if I need a new car.   A truly independent analysis might be worth paying for.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Farm Business Idea

I'm doubtful there is enough demand to pay any decent living doing that.  Run the numbers and see how many samples and how much mapping you'd have to do.  I bet there's not that much to do.  Plus, lots of people do some of these as a service and charge little or nothing for them.

I'd keep looking around.  Maybe you could do some of this as part of some bigger picture.  I think precision ag techs are needed but not sure how long that will last.  

I do think you have the right idea of looking to get in the picture of interfacing between farmers and technology.  be the "go to" guy with some solutions as farming gets more and more complicated.  Just be aware that farmers hate to pay for anything, especially information.  You need to be able to "do" something.

Just my opinion and not worth much.

 

Honored Advisor

Re: Farm Business Idea

Good observations, Jim. One additional thought: stay on the informational curve on services that were previously done free by government - for example, soil samples are still no cost here in NC - that will be dropped as budgets tighten. Usually, entities like fertilizer companies do step into the void, as a marketing tool for their products, but there may be some potential to fill a void.

A lot of our free inputs are going to start carrying a cost...VA has been charging for soil samples for a few years now. Can still get them free through our fertilizer dealer there, though.
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Senior Advisor

Re: Farm Business Idea

Most Iowa fertilizer retailers have people hired to do that task and they usually provide that service free. Some do a more indepth pattern soil testing and have computorized equipment that can vary the application rate on the go. They do charge for that service around $6 per acre. At least that is what it used to be.

 

You could seek employment with one of those firms but I suspect you would rather own an independent business. I guess you could offer an alternative service in that it would be independent of all fertilizer providers. That may insure that you are providing recommendations according to need rather than recommending to promote fertilizer sales. I sometimes question whether the folks making the recommendations have different objectives than my own.

 

I think farmers might welcome an independent mindset along with some agronomy experience. I don't know what they would pay for it or if they would pay for it.

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Re: Farm Business Idea

Hi There,

According to me, If anyone planning to launch a farm business startup, then it will be a successful startup idea nowadays, In recent days uber-like business models are trending everywhere, many of the startups tried to launch uber-like app-based startups on every on-demand business sectors.

It's also applicable for the agriculture industry, Uber has launched its application especially for farmers to get farm equipment easily. Take a look at uber for farmers app, It will be a best startup idea nowadays.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Farm Business Idea

Grundy county has about the best soils in Iowa.  You might want to work the summer at a coop to learn the ropes soil sampling and crop scouting for them.  IMO a good fit that would keep you wall to wall employed would be sell seed, chemicals  and fertilizer.  And maybe get hooked up with a aerial applicator and peddle cover crop seed and you both throw business each other`s way.  Good luck.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Farm Business Idea

The original post was over 8 years ago ........ I wonder what he is doing now.... That idea really took off for a while and higher prices helped it along.... we have a couple of local agronomists that grid sample but it seems to be on somewhat of a smaller scale and secondary to his agronomy work.  

The discretionary spending has slowed a great deal.  And keeping up equipment that will utilize the ability is expensive.

 

would be interesting to know where and how he landed.

 

 

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Honored Advisor

Re: Farm Business Idea

Yes, I think a soil sampling venture has to be complimenting some sort of retail crop input business.  I don`t think you could figure pulling samples half the year and take the other half off would fly.  If you become a certified crop advisor and do something more than a college intern job would be the way to go.

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Advisor

Re: Farm Business Idea

in my area, we have competing agronomy businesses that provide soil samples, recommendations, etc for $ per acre.

Guess the guy was on to something 8 years ago.

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