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Tech Tuesday

Farm Tech Has a Human Factor

All this farm technology stuff we're buying can work great, but when trouble happens human support is key.

Farmers are investing in new technology every day as part of their effort to get more efficient and precise in using everything from seed to fertilizer to fuel. The farm technologies being put into practice these days range from enhanced yield and application maps to implement controls like row or boom shut-offs to stop overlap.

After being part of three Water Street Ag Edge meetings where I had the privilege of talking about technology with these forward-thinking farmers, I also picked up on some key concepts to keep in mind. And for those of you heading for the National Farm Machinery Show next week, a visit with your tech provider at the show will be time well spent.

One issue that came up loud and clear in those meetings, however, was not so much the farm tech but the support behind it. The comments ranged far and wide across the meetings from "I have great support." to "My dealer just lost my tech guy and he was great." Keeping good precision tech support people in a market isn't easy. They serve an essential purpose and can move easily because of their skill set.

It also shows the importance of investment in dealer training for support and a challenge you may be facing if your local farm tech dealer can't locate the right people. If you have solid support in your area - and most farmers do - make sure you have a good relationship with that person. It could be valuable in the future (and if they move you may want to keep in touch).

In addition, this also points out the potential for paying to have a tech-savvy employee trained in your systems at special schools available from suppliers. Having your own in-house expert - and being ready to compensate that person for that value - could be a useful investment for your farm.

Investing in well-trained people - especially from a tech stance - could be one of your best moves as you seek to boost yields and maximize all the technology now available to you (I'm including fertilizer, seed and agronomy tech too). Thinking for the future of your operation may mean identifying that person, or two, who can get the edge on software and hardware in your operation and help you get to the next level.

Interesting, that at the end of the the day, there's value to the human in this technology equation.

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