One thing I’ve learned from all of this is that a farmer is a farmer is a farmer,” claims Farmers Edge founder and CEO Wade Barnes. “There’s no difference between the 26-year-old farmer I met in Russia and the 26-year-old farmer I know just outside of Brandon. He’s worried about his crops, wondering how he could do better, what he should do, and what everyone else is doing. So the culture of farming is all the same.” Confronting these concerns, getting at the challenges, and obtaining the advantage that will get them 10 more bushels per acre are what Barnes refers to as “the art of farming,” and it’s where Farmers Edge lives up to its name.
Farmers Edge has been providing farmers worldwide with specific solutions to specific problems using sensors in the ground and pictures from the sky, more scientifically known as variable rate technology (VRT). But just because two farmers’ fields sit side by side in Saskatchewan doesn’t mean that those two farmers have the same soil. Indeed, farmers will tell you that one side of their own field behaves differently from the other side of the same field. Measuring and prescribing solutions for that sort of challenge is the sort of thing Farmers Edge provides. And it does so not only with technology, but with real people who have real qualifications, expertise, and experience.
In fact, some Farmers Edge employees are active farmers, so they, more than anyone, can appreciate the fine balance between technology and farmer instinct. Trevor Sherman, Saskatchewan farmer and territory manager for Farmers Edge, compares two of his canola fields, saying, “The next field isn’t as good, because it’s more variable in land in terms of topography and soil structure, but that’s okay, now that I use variable rate technology.” This third-generation farmer knows his land better than anyone, but VRT addresses the “how” to deal with the “what.”
“The whole point of variable rate technology is to not waste fertilizer,” says Sherman. “I don’t want to over-apply anything because it’s wasteful and expensive, and I don’t want to under-apply because we won’t maximize production.” He speaks for hundreds of farmers who make up the Farmers Edge client base. Together, their cumulative field data are providing vital agronomic research, but as a community of Farmers Edge customers, their knowledge and know-how continues to shape the technological solutions Farmers Edge delivers.
Marketing research begins with defining the objective of the research. What is the objective of Farmers Edge in terms of the information it collects from its clientele using VRT?
Farmers Edge captures quantitative field data from its customers using its technology. What sources provide the company with marketing intelligence?
What sort of contact method is being used when a Farmers Edge employee visits a farmer and discusses his or her challenges? What are the pros and cons of this contact method?
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