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BUILDING A BASE THROUGH GRAIN MANAGEMENT EDUCATION

07 Apr 2016
by Todd Sears

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BUILDING A BASE THROUGH GRAIN MANAGEMENT EDUCATION

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We all know the clichés about technology - we need our kids to help program our phones or the TV. We joke about how the new iPad I just paid for is already obsolete.

This is something we’re always thinking about as IntelliFarms designs new product – is the technology believable and will it allow us to grow our footprint as we work to bring profit and value to more farms? When we develop new products, we do market research, we invest in the highest quality parts and technology, we put together a marketing plan, and ultimately we feel we roll out a great product that the customer wants.

Some in the industry think that’s all there is to it. It’s true that new technology will always attract some on the leading edge. But in my mind, just having the newest and best technological product is not enough to grow our base and really make the difference we want to make in the industry.

As a result, I think we do something pretty unique – we teach, educate and serve as a resource for our customers. And we take that knowledge on the road, and meet our customers where they are.

Go where they are

Education begins by meeting your customers where they are. It’s important to be able to connect with our customers in their world – and everyone’s operation and day-to-day work are unique – in order to educate them on the science and value behind our technology, and to connect with them to learn about their specific needs.

For example, last year, our team traveled over 30,000 miles collectively across the U.S. as part of a traveling series of workshops, and we’re hitting the road again this spring and summer to continue this effort. These trips are less about us talking up our products, and more about education on the science behind proper grain storage, using data, and how to more efficiently manage your farm from seed to market.

In our regional area around Archie, we talk about crops like corn and soybeans. But at a workshop in Montana, the focus is on different crops like canola, peas and lentils. We work to tailor our education and consultation to local needs because we know that while our technology is proven, it doesn’t work in a one-size-fits-all way. Different operations have different challenges, goals and climates. That’s where the education and consultation comes in, working together as customer and company to find the right solution for each individual need.

Focus on learning, not selling

If someone were to ask me what the core products of IntelliFarms were, I would of course list off our products like BinManager and FieldDataManager and the tools within our IntelliFarms Portal. But one of our greatest offerings is IntelliFarms University.

IntelliFarms University is a core function of our company. It’s comprised of both our industry-leading Grain Lab and our monthly Grain School. Since 2012, hundreds of farmers and dealers have attended our Grain School and emerged with a stronger knowledge about how technology can bring value and profit to the farm. We hold these sessions the first Thursday and Friday of each month at our headquarters in Archie, MO. During Grain School, we also share the research behind our products, showcase the capabilities and discoveries of the Grain Lab, and emphasize the importance of using technology to improve farms’ profitability.

I believe the long-term success of farms today relies upon having valuable, productive technology. But it also must be supplemented with knowledge to be effective and deliver true value. That’s what we are trying to achieve with our educational outreach – whether we’re with customers on-farm or they’re visiting us in Archie. In the long run, even as we develop more and more technologies, our passion is for how we help our customers harness the power of data and put it to work. And that starts with a focus on being educators first.