CoBank: Ag Retailing Future Driven by Precision

A new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange says the Ag retailer of the future has an opportunity to earn more income from precision agronomy services and emerging sustainability management programs. Traditional crop input sales will continue to be a boon for retailers in the future. However, the report said the current strong financial returns that cooperatives and independent ag retailers are enjoying provide a timely opportunity to invest in new technologies.

The goal would be to position themselves for success in a rapidly evolving marketplace.

“The traditional approach for farm supply cooperatives is to save above-average profits when times are good and then manage costs during a downturn,” said Kenneth Zuckerberg, lead grain and farm supply economist for CoBank. “Unfortunately, this approach exposes cooperatives to revenue volatility and declining earnings during down cycles, which can often last five or more years.”

Instead of relying on product commissions and rebates alone, Zuckerberg said farm supply cooperatives’ path forward is to expand their precision agronomy service offerings and capture more income from consultative service and software fees.

“Putting technology and information to work to help farmers manage their inputs and production is where farm supply co-ops excel,” he said.

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