GrainNews, May 13 2015

In early November the largest Canadian ag equipment dealership chain, CNH retailer Rocky Mountain Equipment (RME), announced it had struck up a partnership the Alberta-based precision agriculture firm Decisive Farming (DF). The purpose of that agreement is to make RME a one-stop retailer for farmers who want to pursue precision ag practices like variable rate technology, according to RME management

Although RME won’t be adding agronomists to its dealerships, staff in its AOS (Ag Optimization Specialist) service will work with customers to help them set up the technology in their machinery to enable seamless use of prescription maps specially created by DF.

“The alignment with Decisive brings our customers the best part of what we do, backed by Decisive’s industry-leading application technologies and agronomic services,” says Jeff Bilow, general manager agriculture equipment optimization and technology. “Our AOS, Ag optimization specialists, will spend time with the customer. They upload a test file into the customer’s technology to ensure the technology is working flawlessly from a variable rate perspective, then Decisive comes in to offer services to the customer after we make sure the equipment is ready for the variable rate technology. Decisive offers the agronomic and farm software management side of it.”

“With every piece of equipment we sell, new or used, the support package we offer is included,” he explains. “What we do is work with the customer to ensure that their machinery is operating as close to perfect as possible and then also help them use their machinery data and turn it into information that they can use to improve their operation.”

RME will have 21 members on its AOS staff to service all areas of the prairie where the company operates dealerships, so farmers are able to talk face-to-face with a technology specialist. Decisive Farming, too, will have area reps that are able to meet personally with farmers. The AOS members will also be able to help RME’s customers iron out any technical glitches they may encounter. In some cases that may mean farmers will get a personal visit from both an RME AOS member and a specialist from DF. “In those cases if it involves something Decisive is also a part of, we’d be out there as a team,” says Bilow.

“In all the areas we do business they (DF) have someone currently tied to that area or are currently hiring someone for it. They (farmers) have the opportunity to deal face-to-face with a Decisive rep. For us as an organization that’s part of the relationship that’s important. We want to make sure our people can deal face-to-face with customers every day to make sure their needs are being addressed.”

This partnership expands the range of services RME is able to provide or facilitate for its farmer customers, and there is a strong possibility the dealership chain may expand that range of services even further in the future.. “We don’t see this as the only opportunity we have to grow this type of alliance,” says Bilow.

“We want to make sure we move toward offering customers the latest and greatest, so to speak. When it comes to technology, we want to play a role in delivering that to the customer where it makes sense. The next five years is going to be interesting, that’s for sure.”