As most of you know, December and January is Farm show season. My team of ACS Equipment Professionals and ACS Regional Specialists will spend over 15 days this winter meeting with all of you at your “local” Farm Show. Talking with you about whats new, what interests you, and what you want to do differently in 2018 on your operations. But there is part of this interaction that is limiting the effectiveness of our time together, and I think it is time for a change.
Let me give you a glimpse into what the farm show is like from our side. We set up all of our new shiny hardware along the isles. Planter row units, YieldSaver Chains, vSet Select Multi-Hybrid planter meters, you name it. Then behind that, we have displays, videos highlighting services that we offer, and a handful of our ACS team there ready to learn from you what challenges that you are facing, so that we can begin to work towards a solution for those problems. For all intents and purposes, our show space is a sales-free zone. We have no intention of selling you something right there because we are in the exploratory phase together. We are both trying to understand what challenges are real and perceived, and think critically about them.
But let me give you a peek at how the conversation usually goes. You as a grower see something that catches your eye and engages you enough to stop walking and start looking. At some point, somebody from the ACS team is going to come up to you and ask if you have any questions. We will engage in conversation and begin to understand the problem as you begin to understand the solution, and we both spend several minutes learning together.
But then, all too often we make the mistake of going down a rabbit hole. You as the grower all too often ask us what the cost of the “solution” is, and we answer. Then we begin a conversation about the price of corn, and how maybe this would work if it was $4.50 corn instead of $3.XX corn. We forget all about the potential solution and instead scrap the idea based on the price of our produced product.
Together, you as the grower and we as the Agronomists need to change how this all happens. We need to quit asking what the cost is. Is it important, absolutely, but that is not the most important thing to your operation. We need to instead ask, “What does the ROI look like locally, and what should, or could I expect on my operation.” This question still ultimately gets you the answer that you were looking for, but it also goes so much deeper and has much more value.
Think about it like this. Asking “how much does it cost?” is a bit like a math problem that goes like this.
Two trains leave a station at 11:00. What time do they meet?
Asking, “What does ROI look like on this solution locally?” is a bit more like this math problem.
Train A leaves Sioux City, and Train B Leaves Kearney, both at 11:00 AM. It is 278 miles between the two towns. Train A is traveling 60 mph, and train B is going 45 mph. What time do they meet?
Same question, but with more detail comes more confidence in the answer. A few weeks ago as I talked about agronomy, I challenged you to ask for research when online, and I will make that same call again for the farm shows. Anybody offering a product or a solution that can’t answer the simple question of what ROI looks like, and then back it up with some local data is somebody you need to pass on by. I have been around long enough to see that growers who survive tough times are the ones that manage their expenses and production very well. The growers who prosper in tough times are the ones that make even harder decisions and look for ways to make every penny they spend give them just a little more back.
And by the way, it is 158 minute, and 52 seconds, so 1:38:52 PM.