The agriculture market is in an uncertain state. Weather events, specifically heavy and devastating flooding, have caused delayed planting across the Corn Belt. Trade wars are impacting commodity prices.
For agribusinesses, the shifting nature of the market makes strategy, marketing and sales decisions more difficult. Especially in an industry where instinct and intuition often guide decisions , the things that have worked in the past won’t necessarily work this year or the next.
As you work to grow in spite of the unpredictability of the market, the right business decisions require the best information available, as well as the ability to analyze and act on that intelligence.
This may sound complicated and a time-consuming process, but quite the contrary. Here are three straightforward steps you can take to incorporate up-to-date intelligence into your current business processes to navigate the unpredictable market and the delayed planting season.
1. Identify the farmers who you know will be good customers
As farmers face financial challenges due to the delayed planting and loss of grain bins or stored grain, not all farmers are going to be in a position to make a purchase this season. And you don’t want to spend your time or their time trying to get them to buy something they can’t afford.
What’s more, delayed planting is going to impact not only what the farmers are planting, but how much they’re planting and which fields they're going to prioritize. This affects the whole of the operation, including what they’re going to be interested in purchasing to help them make the most of the time left in the season.
Your previous customers may not be able to buy right now. But with the right data and up-to-date information—like the in-season crop data that we'll release next quarter—you can identify who the right farmers are and ensure you’re talking to the people who are able and willing to do business with you.
Delayed planting is only one external factor to consider. Due to the trade wars depressing commodity prices, if you’re purchasing grain from farmers, now is the time to do it. Identifying farmers with on-farm grain storage can help you narrow down your list to focus on those who can help provide you with the grain you need.
The key is to only approach growers who you are confident are going to buy. Don’t waste a grower’s time if there’s not going to be a relationship there. You don’t have the time, and they certainly don’t.
2. Research in advance for better conversations
With the market shifting so quickly, speed is essential in your marketing and sales. Whether you’re buying grain or selling seed or anything in between, the ability to move quickly and close the sale as quickly as possible means you’ll be able to achieve more before market conditions shift again.
Since many growers are in the in the fields late this year, they have limited time and energy. So save both their time and yours by doing your homework ahead of the actual conversation.
Don’t approach a farmer asking them to tell you about their farm. Instead, offer them some helpful advice. Talk to them about how your new shorter-season hybrid. Ask them if they have the right equipment to plant and harvest all their acres in this short season.
And do your research to understand the overall context of the operation, whether it’s something you actually use in conversation. Is the farm on an upward or downward trend? Are they in need of a new revenue stream this year? Have they avoided the grain losses many other farmers have seen and may be looking to liquidate those resources to eliminate some risk?
This applies to marketing teams as well. Know generally how the farmers in your segments are performing so you can target them with the right message. You don’t want to send a message offering to buy grain from a farmer who has no on-farm grain storage or, worse, just lost everything.
The more knowledge you have before you go out into the field, the better. Be prepared and informed so you can focus your time and energy on closing the sale.
3. Be adaptable and agile to respond to real-time changes
Once you have a streamlined process for identifying, researching, and talking to growers, repeat that process as many times as possible. The more you can buy right now, the better able you’ll be to take advantage of these shifts and changes.
Having up-to-date information and intelligence on the growers in your market—as well as potential new growers you aren’t communicating with right now. The key to moving quickly and nimbly through the market is having all the information available to know what the farmers’ picture looks like today, not five years ago.
Farm Market iD is in the process of developing updates to our applications that can help with this. We’re currently acquiring, processing and analyzing weekly imagery, daily weather and monthly real estate transactions covering 230 million acres of crops to analyze trends, spot anomalies, remote sense key information and much more.
These data will soon be available as alerts in our various applications, putting the power of “now” into your hands. With this data, you can see with the most up-to-date information which farmers may be at a decision point or otherwise receptive to engage with you and your brand.
Take a look at the video below where we talk about how our in-season and predictive data helps agribusinesses stay in lockstep with farmers—and one step ahead of their competitors.
We can get you set up with the data and information you need to take advantage of these market shifts. Watch the video and contact us to schedule a demo.