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What Are Machinery Reps Doing at Seed Company Field Days?

What Are Machinery Reps Doing at Seed Company Field Days?
At least one seed company increases value of loyalty programs.

Slick marketing or a payback for loyal customers – you can decide for yourself. What you can't argue with is that the customer loyalty rewards programs offered by Beck's Hybrids, Atlanta, Ind., works for many farmers. Over 9,000 people attended Beck's late August field days at Atlanta alone, not counting those who visited other sites in Illinois and Kentucky.

Beck's gained attention a few years ago when they offered ATVs and UTVs for customers who ordered by a certain time and hit specific dollar order levels. John Deere gators flew out the doors of the local dealer. I recently rode in a different brand of UTV on a farm with the Beck's loyalty program stamp affixed to it.

Tractors for lease: No, this wasn't a machinery field day. It was a seed company field day, but the seed company also offers leases on equipment to customers who qualify and choose to take them up on the offer.

Now they've upped the stakes by branching out into offering lease programs on tractors of different makes and on pickup trucks. Representatives from these companies brought equipment and manned the display next to it during all three days of the field day at Atlanta. How much Beck's assists on the lease depends on how much seed a customer buys.

This year they added planters on a lease program. Unofficially, it's one of the first times planters have been offered for lease, at least through a third-party arrangement.

Competitors say it's just slick marketing. You can find at least a few farmers that agree. But obviously tons of farmers like the products they're getting in terms of seed, and feel they're getting extra value through the loyalty program.

Sonny Beck, president of the family-owned business, told field day visitors that they are offering the lucrative lease programs and other rewards for customers who support them because they don't have stockholders that want money back on their investment. Instead, they have customers, and they want to share their success with them.

And if someone didn't think Beck's was just as serious about breeding and selling top corn lines as they are about marketing, they needed to tour the research building and greenhouses open to the public at the field days. The research building includes a new molecular marker lab opened this summer to assist their own plant breeders in cutting down the time it takes to find new, promising lines, and speed up the process of trait insertion.

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