Farm Progress

What should you expect from a farm input retailer, besides a competitive price?

Jacqui Fatka, Policy editor

November 3, 2017

2 Min Read

In parts one and two of this series, we shared how some farmers force retailers to bid and compete for their business, while others maximize the retailer relationship. In part three we’ll focus on what you may be able to get from retailers, beyond a lower price.

Why should that matter? Suppliers often hesitate to lower prices, says Mike Boehlje, ag economist at Purdue University, because they have laid in inventories at costs that provide little flexibility without dramatically compressing their own margins.

In order to offer farmers more than just a price, Boehlje suggests specifics on what to seek, so they can arm themselves in making a decision on more than just price. Here’s a list of additional specifics to see if one rises to the top:

  1. Product performance. Effectiveness of the product in enhancing or protecting output (yield, rate of gain) and evidence or documentation supporting the performance claims.

  2. Product price. Net price including transportation and shipping charges and any service fees.

  3. Quantity or volume discount. Any price discounts or service fee reductions that depend on quantity purchased, or packaging or bundling with the purchase of other inputs.

  4. Storage, delivery time and conditions. When and how the product will be delivered, storage arrangements, and penalties or backup if delays occur.

  5. Local contact. Name and contact information (cellphone, email, etc.) of the specific person to contact if problems occur in fulfilling the purchase agreement or in the efficacy of the product.

  6. Application services. Cost and performance specifications including timing of any application or other services.

  7. Financing terms. Financing or credit terms offered, including cash discounts, interest rates, repayment terms and the approval process.

  8. Warranty. Performance guarantees and terms of reimbursement for nonperformance, including documentation requirements and party responsible for servicing warranty claims.

  9. Technical documentation. Product performance documentation and details of product specification, including quality characteristics.

  10. Compliant response time and process. Procedure for filing complaints concerning product or service efficacy or effectiveness, including process and time delays in response or resolution.

  11. Technical support. Availability of technical support to answer questions concerning product performance and efficacy, including a process to contact technical support personnel.

  12. Information services. Availability and provider of any information or data analysis services, including fees charged for such services and a contact person.

Related:Punch up the power of your farm input dollar: Part two in a series

For a sample specification sheet for obtaining bids and a weighted specification analysis tool to look beyond price, download a sample document below.

Related:Punch up the power of your farm input dollar: Part two in a series

Next: How one cooperative helps farmers market grain and lower costs per bushel

About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like