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Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Advisor

Today's Ag Advisers And Sales People

When I was a kid, most of the seed that you bought (as opposed to saved from your own crops) was sold by fellow farmers or by small ag input and other general suppiers.  There was a good chance that the salesman (most were men) was a person you knew, who was maybe older, who was close to agriculture if not a farmer himself.

 

Many times, it seemed the man you interacted with in seed sales or in the land grant extension services was a former farmer.  Maybe a failed farmer, or maybe just someone who had bad breaks.  This colored  how you looked at the person, but you didn't doubt he had personal farming experience.

 

Now days, the day of the farmer-dealer is about gone around here.  Seed sales is increasingly done by full time, maybe pretty big dealers who get a lot of training in sales and agronomy.  They may be younger and you may not know much about them, what they know and where they come from.  Most c ome from a land grant college ag education.   They are the front persons for a big conglomerate.

 

It is this new and different ag input supplier who provides the environment in which we see more diversification in the ag support population.

 

It is obvious to me based on the comments in the Culture War thread (I am not trying to reopen it) that the change-over in the ag personnel sector has changed the face of the people the farmer deals with.  The person is likely to be young, mvoes from company to company, maybe grew up on a farm but is not and maybe never will be a farmer. 

 

My experience is that I am increasingly dealing with sales people who are pretty uncertain about your soil type, your farm history, your objectives.  They are trained to push certain products and are parroting a company's general plan about what varieties fit what soil.  This trend is likely to increase as the sales person is more and more an outsider to your area.

 

We see big companies trying to use precision ag data to match soil types and varieties.  No doubt, this will increase over time.  It wil become more and more impersonal and data driven.  Some day the youngsters may be replaced by a voice on your computer or smartphone.  Seed will be delivered by a big UAS and your planter will put them in the ground witout a driver.

 

For what it is worth, the same thing is happening in ag media.  Fewer and fewer young journalists are active farmers, and those who came from a farm or more and more right out of high school to the ag college to the job, not so much real skin in the dirt.

 

With this change, we see some interesiting new faces.  Iowa State has professors from Asia, the Middle East, Africa providing ag recommendations.  My grian buyer is a woman, as is the grain buyer form the local COOP.  II buy seed and chemicals from a women.  It's no longer an old farmers world out there, and never will be again.  Interaction on a multi-cultural level is becoming normal.  By multi-culrual, I mean specificaaly the old, male, white farmer is interacting with young, mullti-racial, multi-gender, non-local ag supporters as a matter of routine.

 

this may not be happening at the same rate in all parts of the country, but it's happening everywhere and is not going to slow down.

 

 

 

 

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7 Replies
BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Today's Ag Advisers And Sales People

It`s about had to go away from seed farmer/dealers, because usually a BTO sells seed just to get his top discounts for his own seed.  He might not actually care about selling seed to anyone else and many customers have had a farm rented away by him and aren`t too enthused about giving him anymore business. And would his advice be worth anything anyway, if he`d like to rent the rest of what you farm.  Seed companies see this and would rather someone without a dog in the fight be dealing with their customers, because I`ll maintain the place where seed co`s get their bread and butter is the small loyal stupid guy that buys even if he doesn`t qualify for maximum discounts.   Co-op elevators seem to swing the little guy the best Big Shot discount on the main brand seeds.

 

But ag journalism and writing ag stories, I`m in the middle of it and wouldn`t know where to begin in an area that a typical 'farm" is 9 semis lined up and 3 1200 bu grain carts chasing 3 12 row combines across the field. That is as foreign to me as understanding a Amish farm. Perhaps Psychology Today could do a better story than any ag publication  Smiley Happy 

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sw363535
Honored Advisor

Re: Today's Ag Advisers And Sales People

I will give the journalism issue some thought... Maybe sit in on a sensitivity training session...  I have a good connection in journalism and do understand getting the most out of the cheapest....It is a tough game..

 

But on sales personel.  I have welcomed the change for some time.  Getting the seed you want can be difficult when the three big farms in the area get first shot,,,, but maybe that didn't change.

 

The only complaint I have on the new age company rep is the blanket training...... It gets old listening to the same new idea from every salesman that stops by...  Or listening to someone our selling in sw ks tell me what works in Illinois should work everywhere....

 

But I'll say one thing for the new age sales "person".  Often, they have much more enthusiasm for the job and subject than the overly experienced do..... The really good ones are trying to learn something while they have your attention.... I have great respect for that.

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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: Today's Ag Advisers And Sales People

Just sems to parallel the culture in general to me, Jim.  The average hospital staff looks like the UN today.  University faculty in many disciplines, the local news team I am watching right now.  

 

 

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NewAgJudge
Senior Contributor

Re: Today's Ag Advisers And Sales People


@Kay/NC wrote:

Just sems to parallel the culture in general to me, Jim.  The average hospital staff looks like the UN today.  University faculty in many disciplines, the local news team I am watching right now.  

 

 


 

 

And...So ????

 

 

 

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Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Advisor

Re: Today's Ag Advisers And Sales People


@Kay/NC wrote:

Just sems to parallel the culture in general to me, Jim.  The average hospital staff looks like the UN today.  University faculty in many disciplines, the local news team I am watching right now.  

 

 


 

 

And...So ????

 ********************************************

 I made a point and she made a point.  What is your question?  What is your point?

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NewAgJudge
Senior Contributor

Re: Today's Ag Advisers And Sales People

 

 

If you have to ask, then it seems I made my point.

 

 

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Red Steele
Veteran Advisor

Re: Today's Ag Advisers And Sales People

the local BTo here has a 16row corn head, and I am not even sure how big the grain cart is....saves on a couple of guys that way, and he wiped out a field while I was taking a lunch break. And then shortly afterwards, the tillage outfit pulled in, and when the corn field was processed, it actually looked better, if that is the right word, than a chisel plowed soybean field. COuld not even tell it had been a corn field, everything was so ground up and sliced, and worked in. Ready for corn next year. And why I try to get BTO discounts on my seed, he goes world wide and gets it shipped in from places I would not even think of.

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