Bobbitt Jenkins covers a lot of territory as the chemical marketing manager for the South region at Nutrien Ag Solutions. “I’m responsible for a territory from North Carolina to New Mexico, it’s a diverse area of agriculture,” he notes.
Part of his job is telling the company story, which is evolving along with today’s customers. “Nutrien Ag Solutions has invested in technology not only today but for tomorrow that provides innovation for farmers,” Jenkins says.
He points to the Echelon® precision agriculture system as a key example of the technology at work. The company has also introduced a smartphone app and rolled out a customer portal as new tools too. “The customers’ needs are evolving every day. I’ve been in this business 28 years, and these are some of the most exciting things I’ve seen come along in agriculture,” he says.
To provide season-long support these days, a company must adapt to an increasingly tech savvy customer that wants faster response and expects companies to step up. Jenkins remembers the days when you reached a customer by land line. “Today, communication ranges from phone calls to emails to texts, and soon we’ll communicate with customers over our app,” he says. “Today they can request products and services in multiple ways, and this truly separates Nutrien Ag Solutions from the rest of the field; we give them more opportunities to connect with us through different avenues.”
That’s important for year-long crop support. In the Delta and Southeastern United States, agriculture is a diverse business. Cotton, corn, soybeans, peanuts, rice and even onions are all part of the crop mix, and that doesn’t count the wide-ranging specialty crops including pecans or blueberries. Nutrien Ag Solutions and the agronomists and consultants that work for the company must be ready to meet the needs of those customers.
Jenkins highlights the launch of the Nutrien Ag Solutions crop planning tool. Rolled out in 2019, it’s being used in 2020 as a way for farmers and trusted advisers to be ready for the coming crop year. “I’m excited about the opportunity of the new crop planning tool. This can change our industry as much as anything,” he says. “We can sit down with our customers to advise on their year-long needs and help them plan from burndown to harvest not only how to maximize yield, but how to be more profitable.”
With the crop planning tool, farmers and Nutrien Ag Solutions agronomists work through the farmer’s data. Jenkins notes the more historical data available, the better that tool will get in helping select seed types, manage inputs and develop plans for enhancing profits.
“These tools will enhance the relationship we have with the grower,” Jenkins says. “But let’s not forget, these great tools won’t replace the knowledge of our agronomists to work one on one with growers. With these tools, they’ll be able to work better and more efficiently.”
Historical information is important too. Knowing the yield and the type of crop on that field the year before is useful in planning inputs and seed selection for the current year. How much nitrogen is left from last year’s crop? Are there field conditions to be aware of when selecting seed?
“In the past the knowledgeable agronomist could make those recommendations based on experience, and today they still do. The difference is today we’re backing up that decision and plan with science,” Jenkins notes.
The crop planning tool isn’t just a “start the season and walk away” program. This is a full-season guide that farmers and their Nutrien Ag Solutions advisers can turn to if the season goes sideways. “For example, we can identify and share when a different cotton variety might be the better choice if the planting date changes,” Jenkins points out.
Setting a standard
Today’s ag customer is incorporating smartphone technology into their daily routine, no different than a typical consumer. Nutrien Ag Solutions is offering the same conveniences with their customer portal where growers can place orders directly with their local branch and can receive confirmation as to when it is ready for pick up or delivery. That speeds up response and keeps people in the field during critical times.
Jenkins points to some key factors that set Nutrien Ag Solutions apart. First, he notes the company’s above-and-beyond focus on safety standards in its facilities. “That’s a standard Nutrien Ag Solutions applies to all our operations,” he adds.
He shares that the investment the company is making to bring innovative products to growers is targeted at helping customers work efficiently in their fields. “From Loveland Products, to our fertilizer side and our digital investment, we’re helping them work more efficiently,” he says.
And there’s another area many farmers may not see but can experience every season: “Our relationships across all of our suppliers shows we’re working with companies that know Nutrien Ag Solutions continues to invest in this business. Our suppliers recognize that and want to bring their best products to our growers,” he says. “Those products are backed by research and development, high standards for our growers and come from suppliers reinvesting into the future.”
The farmer-consultant-retailer relationship is changing. New technology tools offer new support for Nutrien As Solutions crop consultants and retailers to help farmers maximize output and returns for their operations. Nutrien Ag Solutions is stepping up to meet that need.
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