Survey finds successful ag retailers not afraid to get their boots dirty

A recent Stratus Ag Research survey reveals that farmers expect their local ag retailer to provide on-the-ground support. In fact, not only do the majority feel that it is important for their ag retailer to provide crop scouting services, but those who do, also tend to purchase more products as a result.

June 19, 2014

Stratus Ag Research conducted a survey of 1,894 American farmers, to get a better understanding of the expectations that farmers have of their local ag retailers.

“Many of us may prefer to shop at no-frills outlet malls for our consumable goods, but in the business of farming we heard that there is an expectation of a higher level of service and expertise,” says Krista MacLean, Project Manager with Stratus Ag Research.

Results of the survey reveal that receiving crop-scouting services from their local ag retailer is important to the majority of farmers. Not all farmers agreed, though. Those who feel that price and product availability are most important are less inclined to request crop scouting services. On the other hand, farmers who choose their ag retailer based on the presence of knowledgeable agronomists who offer advice on ag products are more likely to request these types of services.

Furthermore, in the Midwest 74 per cent of farmers who receive crop-scouting services from their ag retailer indicate that their retailer has a strong influence over their crop chemical purchases. Compare that to those who do not receive crop-scouting services and the survey reveals that only 30 per cent feel that their ag retailer has a strong influence on their purchases.  Very similiar disparity exists in the Southern and West Coast geographies.

“It would seem that where the retailer is actively supporting the farmer in the field, their advice is legitimized, and therefore their impact on the final purchase decision is greater,” says MacLean.  “We predicted that farmers were inclined to do more business with those retailers where influence was the strongest, and that is exactly what we discovered.”

Stratus Ag Research compared the share of crop chemical expenditures to the level of influence the farmer specified the ag retailer has on those purchases. Not surprisingly, there’s a strong correlation between the level of influence and purchase of goods. On average in the Midwest, the survey reveals that where influence is high, the retailer gets 82 per cent of total crop chemical spending. Alternatively, where influence is weak, the retailer receives only 46 per cent of the share.

“Somewhat surprisingly, what we identified is even the farmers who appear to focus on price – the Transactional Segment – reveal that their ag retailer has a higher degree of influence over their purchase decisions when they receive crop scouting services,” comments MacLean. “And that influence leads to increased spending with said retailer.”


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