Currently, we are knee deep in the crop protection pre-pay season. Twitter is a great platform to gauge customers’ opinions, as they share about their positive and not so positive experiences. Customers want to reduce input costs while not sacrificing yields and manufactures attempt to extract as much value as possible for their products they know customers need, which creates friction. Ag retail companies like Norder Supply want to offer fair pricing while delivering expert advice and superior service to justify a small margin on the products they sell. Farmers Business Network (FBN) has come forward with price transparency, allowing members to see what other members are paying for the same products as well as selling crop protection and seed through FBN Direct. Cash n Carry crop protection providers have been around for years. You see them at farm shows with their printed out price sheets. FBN is the same type of business, just a little more polished with an online presence. They have exploited ways to source crop protection outside of the traditional distribution channels and can still generate a profit by sourcing cheaper chemicals, avoid rebate and loyalty programs, and provide zero on the farm service.
Crop protection and seed pricing is not universal and should be a direct reflection of the level of service the customer requires and/or the amount of service the retailer is able to provide.
Cash n Carry pricing is positioned for the customer that is able to apply his own chemicals, has no brand loyalty with his crop protection or seed selections, and requires little to no service after the sale. If you do not apply your own chemicals, your retailer probably custom applies for you. Many farmers rely on the crop protection and seed recommendations their Norder Supply sales agronomist provides. These individuals are also in customers’ fields scouting for potential problems and giving management advice throughout the growing season. Many retailers offer the basic precision ag services of grid soil sampling and map creation. Norder Supply’s Spot On Scripts is a premium precision ag service, and with the support of customers’ purchases of seed, crop protection and fertilizer, these services can be more price competitive than similar service from an independent provider. These are all things you receive for a little more margin on each product. If you are not getting these things, and want them, you need to be asking for them.
Rebates, Rewards, and Loyalty programs are another source of agitation for customers. Unfortunately, these programs will continue to be around for the distant future. Customers and retailers tend to align themselves deeper with an individual manufacturer for better deals. Going a la carte can sometimes be an option, but product backing is less for resprays and overall cost is occasionally higher without the rebates. It is important to ask your retail provider about rebate and loyalty programs. Norder Supply submits proper documentation for you, makes sure your refund is calculated properly, and advises you about the rebate affects when you change herbicide programs in season.
Norder Supply works with growers on both ends of the spectrum. The budget minded self-sufficient individual and the grower who seek quality advice and best in class service, offering fair pricing for each situation. Think about what kind of customer you are, and have discussions with your sales representatives of your expectations and needs. In the end, it is about maximizing net return per acre and not giving up things we truly need just to save a few dollars.
“It is far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than buying a fair company at a wonderful price.” Warren Buffett