Delivering Data-Driven Solutions - Ep. 05
Like many revolutionary products, they all start with a dream. For Al Myers, he dreamt of finding a way to make farmers lives easier. In this episode, find out how data and connectivity has made a positive difference in the way we farm!
Luke, Isaac and Russ Background
Russ: As a society, we’ve learned to utilize technology to simplify our daily lives. Whether it’s programming your Amazon Alexa to shut off your lights in your house, or to vacuum your entire house with the click of a button. Connectivity’s all around us.
Ag Leaders created options that will go to work for you and your operation. Today, I’m joined by Dealer Success Manager, Luke James, and Product Specialist, Isaac Bowers, to discuss some of these options.
Luke and Isaac, thank you for joining me today on season two of Ag Leader, The Podcast.
Isaac: Thanks for having us, for Russ.
Luke: Pleasure to be here.
Russ: Well, I’m glad because it’d be really awkward if you said it wasn’t. So
Luke: I’ll hold that reservation.
Russ: we get into to round two with drinks then that might change something, but. So I’ve worked with both of you guys for, for quite a while. Both of you guys come from Ag backgrounds, if I remember right. Both Iowa State graduates? No.
Luke: Nope. One of us. Can you guess which one?
Russ: Well, I’m gonna guess it’s a guy wearing the Iowa State jacket, but I thought it was you. You graduated from Illinois?
Luke: No, actually, yeah, I went to Western Illinois.
Luke: One of the directional schools in the state of Illinois. Right.
Luke: Grew up on a farm in western Illinois. Went to school there, was a ag business, agronomy major. Family still farms, dads still farms. Still slightly active in that.
Russ: I know what, seems like a lifetime ago and I had the pleasure to be a Illinois TM for a short time. I think I was actually on your uncle’s farm for a day.
Luke: Were you?
Luke: Okay. Nice. Yeah, my uncle’s farming in, in same town too. They have a different operation, but yeah, we’ve got, I mean, farming is pretty, pretty strong through our blood in Illinois.
Russ: So you started at Ag Leader. What, what you, now you came on as, was it in the support department or were you, I can’t remember which one of you two guys was like the first SMS support guy.
Like we, we had that SMS support department. Was it? Which one of you was it? It was one of you two. Was it?
One was Friedlein.
Isaac: That was Aaron.
Russ: Okay. All right. So Luke, when you came on, where did you first start at?
Luke: I started in software support. Actually worked with Isaac, so we were both on the same team. Aaron Friedlein was our boss.
He hired me. I started there in 2007, so coming up almost on 16 years.
Luke: At Ag Leader.
Russ: Still a rookie in my eye.
Luke: Yeah, I feel like it. . . I feel like I learned something new almost every day, Russ.
Russ: That’s right. So then, let’s see, you went from the, you went from software support, then you moved over to the actual, SMS sales manager after that. Was that, or did you, was there a spot in between there?
Luke: There was a spot in between, but yeah, essentially the same thing moved over into the sales side of our software solution. So, at that point, it was just sms. We hadn’t come out with our AgFiniti Cloud platform yet. But it was sms, which was our desktop software.
You know, we were selling to larger size organizations like co-ops, insurance companies, independent agronomists, or agronomy firms. It’s a lot of just going to meeting with those folks, figuring out what their needs are, and then helping ’em understand how to leverage our desktop software solutions for their, for their data needs.
Russ: Excellent. So then, let’s see, then after that, you, you moved into the TM position for the state of Iowa. You did that
Luke: I was a TM for like three years, three and a half years, something like that.
Russ: Yep. Yep. And then, became the Eastern US Sales Manager for Ag Leader. Now you’ve, now you’ve gone up and got a very, very highfalutin job as the, as the dealer, dealer happiness supervisor.
So tell us just a, a little bit about, I mean, this doesn’t have to do necessarily with data, but, I wanna know what, what that entails. What is the, what is the happiness supervisor? Happiness Supervisor.
Luke: The happiness supervisor. I’m glad that the titles just change, huh? On a conversational basis. I feel like they usually do anyway, right?
Russ: That’s right.
Luke: Yeah. Great question. So Dealer Success Manager, kind of a weird title. I would probably call it Dealer Development Manager. It’s probably what most companies call it. That’s okay. Anything to do with our dealer programs, with our dealer development efforts. Maybe it’s not efforts that our sales team are necessarily leading, but working with other teams to, ensure the consistent growth and scale of our dealer network. Whether that’s onboarding a brand new dealer or that’s establishing a growth path from onboarding to the end of year one and into year one to the end of year three, where we want to develop them into our highest-level dealer. There’s a lot of needs that dealers have and there’s a lot of resources and things that we can provide them to help them, grow and scale even quicker.
Right. The majority of our businesses through our aftermarket dealer channel. So that’s the, that’s the lifeblood of our company and we’ve got an awesome dealer network and we’re just, we do looking to continue to grow it, expand it, and, help those companies continue to serve their growers, even better.
Russ: Yeah. Cause really anything that, that we can do for them, especially in your new role is, is really just gonna help our customers at the end of the day. So it’s a pretty powerful thing. So on a more personal note, I had made a, a couple of notes. I just had made mentioned pickleball.
You were the first person I’d ever heard talk about pickleball. And strangely enough, I’m not kidding at all. Two weeks ago, I’m driving through the little town south of where I live, Perry, and there was a big banner that said they were gonna have a new pickleball tournament. I’m like, holy cow. Like outside of you, I’d never heard anybody talk about pickleball before.
But I also learned, and I didn’t know this, that you were training for a marathon. When is that?
Luke: Yeah. Half marathon. Half marathon. I’m not quite that cool, but yeah, so pickleball, it’s a great sport. I was introduced, well, actually played at high school for the first time. I didn’t dunno what it was, but I was introduced to it again about a year and a half ago. It’s, I mean, it’s really big down here. But it’s big. It’s big everywhere in the US. It’s the fastest-growing sport with the country and it’s really a lot of fun. A lot of fun. Oh, the half marathon piece, it is in May 6th, I believe. I’ve ran ’em in the past. It was, they’re not fun. They’re really not fun at all. The training part’s not fun either. I think Isaac’s probably a better runner than I am. I think he’s running some of them too. But yeah, it’s just, I felt like I needed something to push myself a little bit more. So me and my neighbor that lives right behind me signed up for this one. And it’s actually a trail run, so that should be pretty.
Russ: Well. You’ll see some pretty country. I remember you and I were, when you were the Iowa TM and I don’t know if we were in Spencer or where we were at, but I wanted to go out for a run.
You’re like, I’ll go for a run with you. And then after about three minutes you got bored and you said, let’s do some sprints and some burpees and. I consider myself for somebody my age to at least be in cardiovascular shape. I won’t go any further than that. I thought I was going to die.
Luke: I forgot about that. That was hilarious. Yeah. That was in Spencer, Iowa. You’re right. Yep. Oh, forgot all about that man. Like Russ, this is getting kind of boring. Let’s switch it up. Hey. You did though you didn’t back down.
Russ: I did not. I do enjoy, a challenge like that. Now, do you still, I know at one point in time you and your wife were doing a podcast or blog.
Are you guys still active at all on that?
Luke: So we had a blog years, years ago that kind of went away. We started a podcast called Madhouse parents. We haven’t recorded an episode for probably almost a year. It’s still active. It’s still up. I think we recorded almost 70 episodes.
Luke: It’s something that we want to get back to my wife went back to work full-time and is teaching, and, by the time she gets home, after being around other people’s kids all day, there’s, there’s not much energy left there, so don’t something we wanna get back to. We’ll see.
Russ: Now you have, you have all daughters, right?
Luke: I have all daughters. Three daughters, that’s correct. Yep.
Russ: And how old are they?
Russ: You get this wrong, you’re in trouble
Luke: 10 and six.
Russ: All right. All right. Well, Isaac, now you’ve gotta keep up with that. So you started about, about the same time as Luke.
Right? What year did you start at Ag Leader?
Isaac: Let’s see here I started, actually, in 04 as an intern and then, started in full-time in 06. Okay. And so I’m one of the rare people that get to say they quit their full-time job before they actually started it. You know, at that point in time, Aaron was the only one that was doing software support.
Yep. And so I was at that, and everybody else was in hardware support, but you answered all the other, questions, but it was more specialized. And so I actually had an offer on the table that I accepted, to do technical support. Yep. And then, about two months later, I got poached. So it’s one of those fun stories I get to tell that it’s like, Hey, I actually quit my full-time job before I started it.
And, but still stayed within the same company, so.
Isaac: So I did that for a couple years, and then had an opportunity to step into the supervisor role for our software support team. Mm-hmm. And so that covered everything for, SMS Basic and Advanced at that time, as well as the training side of things as well.
We did a lot of, direct or still do, a lot of direct customer training, with that. And after doing that for a number of years, I’ve, more recently been in the product management in, on the product management team with serving as a product specialist, where I work with our sales team.
So I’m excited to start working with Luke a little bit closer now with his role. What kind of tools do we need to make our dealers successful. Also, for all of our existing customer base as well, so farmers, agronomists or any type of service provider.
So just learning what’s out there in the market, understanding what’s out there, and how can we, best serve our customer base with those tools. I also serve as a product owner, for one of our development teams. So I will take all that information I’m gathering out in the field and then be able to share that with the developers and try to make that a practical solution.
Russ: Excellent. Yeah. So you’re not, you’re not busy at all?
Isaac: No, I, I don’t have anything going on really most of the days.
Russ: We’re gonna get into the data stuff here. But you know, software’s always been a one of my favorite things and just for everybody out there we’ve got public software training available for SMS.
It’s on our website right now. And I am actually signed up for the, for the SMS Advanced training cause I need to be refreshed now and again. So, circle back a little bit, Isaac. Now you also, come from an ag background, little bit about where you came from and just a little bit of background for you.
Isaac: Yeah, so I grew up in eastern Iowa on a small, corn, soybean, farm hogs were actually probably a bigger part of our operation, really more than anything else. But always had a, you know, through a lot of guidance through, you know, a guidance counselor and, FFA advisor really got pushed to, consider something in the, on the agriculture side of for a career.
And so, that quickly narrowed my scope of options down to Iowa State, you know, want to get away from home, but also not be so far away that, I couldn’t make the trip if I so desired. Yep. So, Iowa State is, was an excellent option for that, studied ag systems technology.
And through that, had a chance to, actually, a co-coworker of mine when I was actually worked in the career service office for a couple years. And, one of my coworkers there had done some internships, in the precision ag field, and he had presented to the AST club I gotcha. On some of that.
And so that kind of really sparked my interest is, okay, here’s something that I kinda get, feed that desire of, with, interacting with people, but also serving that, that, that need or that itch to, get into technology. Yeah. Originally I, I considered doing something more along the engineering side, and I decided long ago, I was like, I don’t really need to make the thing, but I also wanna make sure that I can tell the engineers how to make it work.
You know, there’s enough times you work on farm machinery. Like why did it get developed this way? Yeah. How could we’ve, made this better? And so I really enjoyed that aspect of it right now. again, circling back to the, my product owner role.
Yep. It’s like, Hey, here, here’s what we’re seeing, here’s the needs and here’s, in some cases, what someone is already doing, but how do we get, make this thing better? Yep. And, you know, be able to work with them. Cause I’m not the smartest guy in the room. And nine times out of 10, probably, 9.5 out time times out of 10.
I don’t make that qualification. But, you know, it’s, it’s fun to be able to go through and have those conversations, nonetheless. I came here for Iowa State. I really anticipated that Iowa State was just, or Ames was gonna be a stepping stone into something.
Isaac: different. And so it took a while for me to realize, like, I stayed here and was like, I really need to consider Ames a home. And I guess the, the rest is history.
Russ: I remember, one of season one of the podcast when I interviewed. , Mike and Al. When I asked Mike if he had always planned on working for Ag Leader he is like, no.
It was like, it was like very matter of fact. And I’m like, I was kind of taken aback, I thought it was kind of funny. You made mention of something, and Luke is the same way. You both have ag backgrounds, you both have input into how things work, and I do get lots of comments at trade shows as to, man, your equipment is easier to use than brand X, brand Y, brand Z.
And I’ve said this multiple times. I do believe a big portion that may not all of it, but a big portion of it is the fact that the guys that do testing, the guys that do development, all these things, guys that have input on how this stuff works, actually use it at home. Mm-hmm. it’s a big thing.
I mean, again, you made mention of looking at things and, well, why does it worked this way? I, I think everybody’s popped the hood on their new truck and. Was like, goodness, I’d like to talk to the guy that designed this.
Isaac: It, it just really helps for that, that buying for the, you know, for our culture as a whole.
Isaac: It’s like how do we, just simplify it. It can be a range of things really. It’s like, Hey, this thing doesn’t exist, or how do we get to simplify this thing, this process? At the end of the day, it means something to you. In some cases, you’re solving some of those own problems that you’ve experienced. Or just because of our connection with our dealers and with our customers. It’s like we know the people that are actually experiencing those problems. Like, yeah, I feel your pain I understand now why this is a painful process for you. And let’s make that better.
Russ: Yeah, that’s all true. And again, as we get to talking about data and SMS and AgFiniti and all the things that we do in that world, again, that’s, I’ve always been a big fan of it. And I remember many, many years ago, a guy that used to work with us a Michael Voss. He and I, we were at a presentation or something and we had said how old this was.
We had just introduced SuresStop Clutches. So it’s been a, it’s been a day or two. And he was talking about how easy that the SuresStop Clutch was. You can get this much of a percentage of savings and seed and this, that, and the other, but it’s kind of set and it’s kind of easy and that’s what it is.
But with the software, with the data, you’re going in and being able to make changes to your operations that can, for lack of a better term, exponentially change the profitability or efficiencies on your farm. And that’s why, software sometimes can make people a little nervous, but it’s also really at the end of the day, gonna be your biggest return.
The biggest thing that you’re investing in is your data. You know, it’s your data.
Moving on here. So there are, there’s goods and bads of being totally connected. And when we talk about totally connected I’m sure Luke could raise his arm and show us his Apple watch and how that’s kept him connected with everything that he’s doing.
Like maybe running a marathon.
Isaac: Half marathon, half marathon. He’s only crazy. He’s not insane.
From the Field to Your Phone
Russ: We’re gonna go right to ludicrous speed , see if anybody gets that reference. So, you know, anything from, again, changing your thermostat to, to, in my case, maybe changing the humidity and your humidor from halfway across the world.
You know, connectivity is, is everywhere, right? So, so Luke Give us some examples. You know, using afinity or SMS or just anything in the data world is as to why, why is Ag Leader in this world, what’s the importance of everybody being connected like this?
Luke: Yeah. Great question. I’m gonna back up a little bit, just kind of elaborate on some of the points you made earlier about being connected with a, with a Apple watch or with a, with a thermostat or, Hey, Russ, what about a smoker that you can control from your phone?
How do you feel about that one? ? It’s just, it’s so convenient and I was one of the believers that, that I’ve told myself multiple times, like, I do not want this apple, I don’t want something on, on my wrist that’s interrupting my life more. Yeah. Right. Like, I wanna be disconnected more and actually started running.
So what you said was true actually started running for this. Train for this half marathon, and I had this big, bulky phone that I had to carry with me to track my progress, right? Like, like my pace, my distance, all that stuff. And it’s just a nuisance. So eventually I said, what the heck? I’m gonna go get a watch thats got data on it that I can just wear that and I’ll have to deal with my phone. And it just, it sounds, maybe it sounds a little silly, but it just made my life more convenient having that ability to track and engage with the connectivity that I needed. That was it in a much simpler way to use.
Russ: You know, you, you say that. I remember. again. Gosh, it’s probably been a little over, I mean, it’s probably been over 20 years. On Saturday mornings, I always had this deal called Power Block, which were all these shows about guys building cars and all this stuff like that. And of course, the commercials were for companies like JEGs, that for those who don’t know, they make a lot of high performance car parts.
And this commercial had this guy with this yellow first gen Camaro, and he’s got his laptop sitting on the cal of it this guy’s plinking away ordering parts from JEGs, and I’m like, who in the blue Blazes is gonna have internet in their shop and order parts on their computer? I, I now have a couple of different internets around, around the compound at home.
So without it, I’d be completely lost. It’s so nice again.
Russ: Yeah, exactly.
It’s a hundred percent. Could you survive without it? Yeah, of course you could, right? Yeah. But it’s just that convenience that it. It adds an element of, of efficiency and ease to your life that probably has spill over into other areas.
The thing that I’ve noticed that I didn’t think about when I got the smart watch, right, is all your notifications pop up on there. I’ve actually found that my screen time on my phone has decreased by having this, because if I see a notification, I can read it. Yep. And I continue doing what I’m doing, if you grab your phone and you open it, what do you usually do after you read the notification?
Luke: You go somewhere else on the phone. Right?
Russ: That’s right.
Luke: Like you continue doing something else or you check an email or social media or whatever it is. So I didn’t realize all those other benefits that you would get from it. And I think that agriculture and when we think about connectivity with an agriculture, it’s gonna be very, very similar.
Like I think the adoption rate will take some time. And we’ve already seen that, but we’re starting to see that acceler rate inside of agriculture with the ability to, if you think about it from a really simple standpoint, when we first started with precision ag, we had a display in a combine. Right.
And we had this card that recorded all that information.
Luke: And then we could take that to our computer in our office and we could read it in, and then we could print a map. Right. We’d call it our report card. Our yield map.
Russ: That’s right.
Luke: And we could start to see trends or differences within the map. And then as we evolved in precision ag, we had access to that same data from our planter, from our sprayer, from our fertilizer rig. Or maybe we went, we soil tested and we had all that information. We could create a map that showed our pH across our field, or our P on our K values or whatever you wanna look at.
And we could start to overlay that data on top of each other. We could start to see, okay. Is this hybrid over here influencing yield. Like you, I noticed a correlation there. Or is it a drainage issue? Or is it a pH issue or is it a nutrient issue? We could do all that, but we had to do it from our computer at home.
Right? So what connectivity does for us is it gives us the ability to just rapidly speed that up and make it, make that easier, right? We don’t have to open a program up, read the data in, create a map. We can just grab our phone and we can open up our AgFiniti app, which is the name of our connectivity app.
We can open that up on our phone and we can see our harvest map, we can see our planting, that we can see all of our data that’s been reported with all those devices. And it’s just simple, right? So if I need to answer an easy question, it’s accessible wherever I’m at.
Russ: Yeah. E exactly. I, Isaac, I’m gonna ask you the same question here, so get ready, be prepared, but I remember.
Luke, I think it was a presentation that you made not terribly as long after we introduced Afinity. And it was kind of exactly what you said, but on a slide in that Sure. You’ve collected all this data. Traditionally we’ve always brought it into a laptop, but that information’s like a loaf of bread.
I think this was your slide. Yeah. And, and the longer you wait to get to it, like when you’re in the Combine cab, again, that’s your report card at the end of the year that shows you how everything, everything did that year that you did, whether you did some variable rate, you know you tried different hybrids, this, that, and the other, whatever it might be.
And that, and that loaf for bread is really fresh while you’re in that combine. But as you as you finish up with harvest, a few weeks go by, a month goes by before you finally read that data and sit in front of the computer and look at it, that bread can get a little moldy. And are you really gonna do anything with that data?
So, so Isaac questioned to you, you know, as you’re interacting in, and I kind of wanna make an office space deal here, how you’re the face of the customer, but I’m not, I’m gonna resist that temptation. As you think about, your role and how you interact with folks and you hear, how people are using data how are our better customers using their data, whether it be with SMS or with AgFiniti and how important is it to them, like with this loaf of bread example that we can get that data to ’em right away.
And more importantly, that it’s seamless. It just shows up on your phone, on your tablet, in SMS, on your display. It’s, it’s literally everywhere and it’s really easily accessible.
Isaac: Yeah, there’s probably a lot to unpack there russ.
Russ: Oh yeah.
Isaac: So I’ll , I’m gonna take a stab at what, what initially comes to mind.
Then you can you tell me where to fill in the gaps.
Isaac: But. You know what, when, when you, when I hear con connectivity and what comes to my, my mind there is just the simplicity and be able to take some actionable data right away with that. Yep. And so the, the goal of that is, or the benefit of that is you don’t have to have these down times before you actually get to take action on those.
So that was always the hard part of waiting for that data to get off the monitor and into the office. Yep. There’s always some sort of downtime. Now as soon as I leave the field, that data’s automatically uploaded to afinity and can be shared automatically with all my trusted advisors.
Isaac: And so they have access to see that type of information right out the gate. And so from a harvest perspective that they could start making my fertilizer recommendations as soon as I’m leaving the field and it can be going apply and actually applying. But we could also be sending it to the seed dealer and say, Hey, you know, take a look at these hybrids for the objective field, one of these is doing awesome.
This one really fell flat. Why?
Isaac: And I want to understand that before I start making my purchasing decisions for the following year. But I think also that idea of just, with it always being there, you get anytime you have that a question just rattling around in your brain you can take action on that right away.
So if I’m driving next to one of my fields and I notice something that’s odd in there, maybe there’s something odd about one of my hybrids. But I can pull up my phone and say, well, well what actually did I plant in that GP field? And what did I plant there?
When did I plant? I don’t remember when or what it was out there. It’s just, but hey, I know that’s my field. Yeah. Well, I can pull up my phone and based off GPS location proof, it’s gonna, Zoom me into that particular area and I can start answering those questions. And maybe that’s the first thing I’m gonna do is just make a quick call to my agronomist and say, Hey, I need you to come out and check this particular field.
Yeah. And oh, by the way, here are the other five fields that have the same hybrid on there. Can you go take action and go look at those as well? Yeah. That’s pretty, you know, I can do that now when I’m driving by next to that field. But the point is, I can pull over and I can have that done and within five minutes, with the five minutes of, having that phone call, I can zip that off to an email and I could be on my way to doing something else.
Not all that long ago, I would’ve had to wait till I go back to the office and then try to remember maybe the agronomist had that information. Maybe he hasn’t come out to actually collect those planting gaps. Yep. So now it’s on me to then make that report for him to say, this is where I need you to go check.
Or he is out there blindly going, amongst my fields, taking a guess.
Russ: Yeah. You, you made mention of Trusted Advisor, so if you’ve got that data, you’re in that field, you can share that with him. He can go out and look at it. But when you said that, that actually brought something else to my mind, and it’s something I don’t think we talk about enough, and we’re talking about this data and this data’s everywhere.
The grower has access to it. He gets to choose who has access to it. And that’s kind of something that, that does differentiate what we do a little bit as well as Ag Leader has no access to that.
Russ: Would you elaborate on that just a little bit?
Isaac: Yeah. One of the things that’s important to us is that the customer gets to own the data and that’s everything from really like who gets to see it and who has access to it.
And so we firmly believe that whoever owns that data, who owns that account gets to pick and choose who that is.
Russ: It’s just important. I think a lot of folks realize or maybe don’t realize how much value there really is in this data. And, and we don’t aggregate that. We don’t sell that. We’re not, we’re not in the business of making money from folks’ data. That’s where we stay out of that. Again, that, that makes us unique.
Luke: We’re a precision ag company, right, Russ?
So we sell precision ag technology, whether that’s software or hardware. We don’t sell chemicals. We don’t sell seed, we don’t sell iron anything. We don’t sell iron. We don’t sell anything else other than precision ag technology and hey, we’re independently owned too. Yeah. So we’ve got that, that fierce independent mentality and we, yeah.
We’re not, we wanna protect our growers Right. To the same thing.
Luke: I wanna make sure that they have access to their data and that it’s secure. And if they want to share it, go for it. We’ve got the tools for you to do it, but, but we’re not gonna share it for you. Right. We’re not gonna use it.
We, we wanna grow with you. Right. Help you be successful and we wanna be independent together. I think that’s the key piece there.
Russ: As I say, a rising tide raises all boats. So if that’s true, if our customers are successful, then hopefully we’ll be a, we’ll be a part of that. Right. So, absolutely. I remember another part of the connectivity thing way early on, Luke was actually a meeting that you and I and a couple of guys did down in Texas, and I think it was one of the first times we had showed this in front of dealers and that was the remote support portion of it.
And you actually called your dad or logged, yeah, you called your dad logged onto his display. And of course, again, as everything else, the grower’s gotta give permission somebody to log on there. So if you’re the dealer and you’ve got a grower that’s maybe having some issues, they can grant permission for the dealer to log on.
And you were actually about to talk to your dad and run through stuff like, Hey, make a left turn. You could see on the screen and make a left turn. , I remember, you know, again, that was way early on in the remote support portion of it. That I think that’s a tool we don’t talk about enough as far as.
Our dealers or even farm managers being able to support their own displays.
Yeah. I remember that too, Russ. It was right after we released remote support, and I think it was I think at the time our dealers and a lot of growers had just, they didn’t really understand what it meant when we said remote support.
Yeah. And I think at the time we’re like, Hey, we’re just gonna show you. Yeah. Like my dad’s planting right now. I’m gonna log in, we’re gonna view his, I think he was actually harvesting my dad’s harvesting right Now. We’re gonna log in and you’re gonna view it. Right. Connect to it. And it was, yeah.
I mean, that is a great tool to be able to speed up the troubleshooting process, right? Yep. Whether you’re a dealer troubleshooting a grower or a farmer, or whether your, your dad’s running the combine and you want to help him, right? Yep. Or, or your grandpa or whoever it is, or your son maybe, right?
Luke: He doesn’t have the same experience level that you do. I mean, how, how many times have we tried to explain something to someone told them to navigate somewhere, whether it’s on display or it’s on your TV or, or whatever it is. Yes. If you could just see what they were looking at, you could speed up that process so much faster.
Or you could, if you can see what’s going on with the machine. Like if I remote in to my dad while he’s planting and I noticed row number three has consistent doubles, like I can have that conversation with him right away. Maybe he’s not picking it up for whatever reason. Maybe he is updating his Facebook status and not have his display.
Whatever he does in there.
Russ: Well, he’s got steering. He’s gotta find something to do.
Luke: that’s right. It gets boring after a while, right? But, Well, that’s piece of connectivity that that we’ll continue to talk about and I think you’ll see that, that type of thing. It’s not just viewing a display, but those machine interactions. I think you’ll continue to see that expand as we move forward with connectivity.
I think a lot of times people think about what we talked about earlier with is just access to your information and your data and be able to view a map and be able to pull it up on your phone, your iPad, whatever. There’s so much more that we can do with connectivity too, whether it’s remote support or whether it’s two displays talking to each other at the same time when they’re in the field.
Luke: Right. If I have two, I have two planters in the same field and I have my InCommand, which are our displays, right? Our flagship displays that could go on the cab of a tractor that could, that would control your planter. For instance, if I have two of those, I have two planters running in this field. One planter does all the end rows.
Historically, when you would pull into that field, the second operator would not know where any of that information is.
Russ: That’s right.
Luke: Right. They wouldn’t know where the end rows were other than the traditional method of stopping, picking the plant up, turn around, stopping, putting it back down. With our connectivity products today, we can sync those displays up, so as soon as that other planner records those end rows, it’s immediately transferred to that other display.
So then when that planter hits the end rows section, control turns on, turns those different rows off. Yep. They can share the same guidance line. Like there’s a lot of different things that, that we can do today and will be able to do in the future that, that fall underneath that connectivity umbrella.
And they go back to the earlier conversation where we’re talking about making our lives easier. And creating more efficiencies with what we do within our lives that I think farmers will start to understand and they’ll learn other things that they didn’t even know were even possible just by being connected and being able to share that information transferred back and forth.
That’s right. Now Isaac, you brought up something here a little earlier, how you were, when you first kind of moved to Ames, you were, you wanted to get away from home, it would be just far enough where it’s just a, you can still get to home, right? So Luke had made mention, I don’t, when we did that, that meeting down in Texas, how we logged into his dad’s display, but how have you been able to use AgFiniti being here if you’re not at home helping. Or maybe even some examples that you’ve heard of how of guys using AgFiniti look at data or gimme a couple examples. How you’ve used or how you’ve heard it used as far as if somebody is remote or just as a tool to make life a little easier.
Isaac: Yeah, that’s why I was trying to jump in there earlier, just that idea of,
Russ: but Luke talks a lot. I mean, you’re not gonna stop him.
Isaac: So do I. So it’s and so do you for that matter.
Russ: I, I have been in sales for a long time.
Isaac: That idea with the efficiency, there’s so much from a time savings perspective that kind of comes to mind. You and Luke were talking about remote support, so just the ability to, quickly see what’s going on that display.
Isaac: Sometimes that means a dealer would have to take a phone call and like, well, hey, I don’t know what’s going on there. I’m have to make a trip out there.
Isaac: Well, that may be a couple hours just to, not only for the drive, but also when he has time.
Isaac: Amongst anybody else that he’s trying to service, especially in the heat of the season.
Right. For planting and harvest being some of the, the, the heavier ones. Now we, now we can log into the display and say within a quick period of time, be able to see that answer. You know, Luke and I both worked in support. You’ve done pseudo support through all your roles as well.
It’s always funny to listen to someone and say, Hey, follow what I’m telling you to go to. And then you hear click, click, click, click, click. Yeah. And it’s like you’re, I know you’re five steps ahead of some other screen, but I don’t know what that screen is that you jumped to and just having that confidence as the person that’s trying to offer that support of like, this is where you’re at.
Yep. You know, from my side being remote there, no one’s on the farm full-time. Yep. You know, that’s, that’s been one of the transitions that’s happened in the last decade. It’s unfortunate. I don’t, I hate to call it hobby farm, but that’s what, more or less become but I also don’t interact with the display day in, day out.
Yep. And so I, I know 90% of the budding presses. Yeah. But there’s always that 10% that’s like, all right, I know it’s in this general area, but I don’t remember what it is for that setting that you’re trying to fine tune. . And so just having that confidence of like, you know, what I, what I’ve had to do is like, look at YouTube video or look at a, a manual to figure out what that is to tell Dad, or this is where you go.
It’s like, hey, just, connect it to infinity and okay, now that solved that problem within five minutes. Same even with like setting prescription files, I make a lot of the recommendations and I’ll send that out to him. And just that process of copying it from the USB or copying it from the email to the USB stick to get out to the display, you know, that was a, a handholding process for that.
And not that he’s never done it before, but it’s just helps to facilitate that or you know through that process. Well now with that AgFiniti, it’s already in the account and it’s easily accessible on the display. And so just, just eliminates any chance or the allow of the chances for user error.
Yep. And just speeds up that process .
Luke: Real quick, Russ, that point that you made earlier, Isaac, I think is a really, really good one when we’re talking about remote support and if the dealer could just see what that customer is viewing, a lot of times that can prevent them from having to make a trip out to the field, which is a benefit to the dealer, but it’s a huge benefit to the grower, right?
Russ: That’s right. Mm-hmm.
Luke: I don’t have to sit in the field for two hours waiting for my dealer to get out there. Not because my dealer isn’t responsive, but there’s probably 15 other people ahead of me on the list too, right? Yep. Right. If they can remote in quick and help me navigate through the screen, man, that just increases my uptime too.
So I think that’s a, I think that’s a really good point and that’s one that, it sounds really trivial, but it can have a huge impact in operation.
Russ: I totally agree, and I, I actually think that we don’t talk about it enough. I mean, I didn’t know we were going to spend 15 minutes talking about remote support, but I, I do want to ask one last thing about it, and that’s for folks who may not be as familiar with remote support Isaac, what do you need to have to make that work and what does that look like on both the dealer and the customer side as to when a dealer’s or dealer or a farm manager is logging in, but what do you need to make it work and how does the process work, kind of 30,000 foot?
Isaac: Yeah. So on the farmer’s perspective, if they’re just wanting to be viewed all they need is a, an AgFiniti account and a hotspot in their in their cab.
And so that, that portion is, pretty easy to set up every, except it’s free to set up an account. And then you just enter those credentials, on your display on the person that’s do the person that’s doing the viewing. Now, that may be their own account, within their own operation, like the farm manager type scenario, or a dealer.
Or, some sort of advisor. That account has to have an AgFiniti essentials license. Gotcha. For that. And so that’s how we monetize that portion. And from there it’s you have really one of two ways to do that. A lot of times support is at the, there, there’s no prep, no, there’s no forewarning that you’re gonna have to take a support call.
Right. So and so what is nice about that is, the advisor can log into their account and then they can enter in a code that the operator sees on their display. And that’s what makes the connection there. Initially for those that are looking to expedite that process, the advisor can make a sharing relationship request
Isaac: That the farmer has to accept, we don’t just let anyone just automatically have access to that.
Isaac: But they can make that relationship ahead of the season. This will be a great time to be doing that before planters start rolling.
Isaac: At least here in the Midwest anyways.
And then that way that list is already prepopulated and it just reduces, again, a couple more steps there to helping that advisor help facilitate the needs for the grower there once the season gets up and going.
Russ: So, one thing I heard there again, and I I probably harp on this a lot.
I’m a big believer in, in data privacy and that sort of thing, is people cannot access that display unless the grower gives that viewer permission, whether it be through a, a trusted relationship or through that access code or whatever the case might be. Correct. They’re not gonna get access to that. And something that kind of, I didn’t want to interrupt you earlier, you made mentioned the free AgFiniti account on an InCommand display.
When you create that free AgFiniti account, there’s another bonus you get with that, and that’s as long as you’ve got an internet source in the cab, you get the the imagery in the background on the display that comes at no charge at all with the AgFiniti account.
Luke: It’s even, it’s even more benefit now, Russ, Isaac, correct me if I’m wrong, but I, I believe that they even have access to file transfer today.
Is that, is that correct?
Isaac: Yep, that’s correct. So the, the file transfer is now also part of that free package if you will. So if you’re trying to, expedite that process of getting that data from the cab to where, wherever, and whether that’s your own personal office or whether you’re trying to get that to the advisor, you have the ability to do so.
With just a, a couple clicks of a button.
Russ: Okay. I’m gonna test you. This isn’t in my notes. I’m looking at doing free AgFiniti versus an essentials license. What do I get with free AgFiniti versus what do I get with the essentials license?
Isaac: Yeah, so with a free account you’ll have the ability to be viewed by an advisor.
You have wireless file transfer.
Isaac: So sending your data. But that the log files, I guess I’ll put it that way.
Luke: The virtual usb.
Isaac: Yeah, that’d be a good way to put it. Be a virtual usb. Everybody can get their mind wrapped around that, hopefully.
And so then what do you add by having the essentials license? And so once you add that to your account now you can actually do, you can actually view your own displays. You can actually view that process data, make maps, and make reports of that. And that will be available on any of your devices, whether that’s phone, tablets or, or desktop type scenario.
And then that would also then be your step towards, you know, if you have a DisplayCast unlocked InCommand then you can start doing the wireless transfer in between your vehicles there as well. That, you know, Luke were talking about earlier.
Russ: Yeah. Also, of course, we talked about it in a previous podcast that’s also gets into CartAce, where we’re Yep.
We’re driving the Auger wagon. In addition to the free stuff, we’ve got the iPad app as well. If you’ve got an InCommand display and you want an easy button to see your maps, you put the free app on your iPad, you create a connection between the InCommand and the iPad and that data just downloads right in the cab with you to your, you don’t even need any mapping software for that.
Isaac: So, yeah. Yeah. That’s a great point. So we were talking about the account and so I, I, yeah, I left that portion out there. So yeah, having the AgFiniti mobile app for for an iPad also provides a lot of great benefits there. One of the, the add-ons there by having an essentials license cause we talked about process maps on both sides.
Isaac: you know, , if you don’t have AgFiniti essentials license, you have to take that iPad to that cab. Yeah. And then remember to open up the app Yeah. To let that data process, if you have the essentials license on there and your displays connected to the internet, you don’t have to think about it.
It just happens. Yep. And when we talk about connectivity’s, like, man, if I have to do extra button presses or actually do extra work, you know, it kind of takes the fun out of it. Yeah. Because I’m, I’ve now gotta think about this along with everything else that I’m trying to accomplish throughout the course of the day.
Luke, myself, we both have kids and like many other families out there, it’s like, hey, you’ve just got enough other things on your mind when you’re trying to balance, you know, work and a, in a personal life.
Russ: Yeah. And I think Luke had made mention being able to, with, with an essential size, being able to see the other displays.
You know, there’s been lots of examples brought up where the combine guy could see where the, the cart’s at the cart guy could see where the semi’s at. They, they all can see each other and anybody else can log in from wherever. If you’ve got somebody working the bin side, whatever the case might be, everybody, it’s complete visibility into the operation, being able to see where everybody’s at.
Isaac: Yeah. There’s a lot of value to that and that’s one of those like things that’s a little bit intangible. You know, we can tell stories about it. I’ll, I’ll share one, but Okay. It’s kinda like the idea of like, like even your cell phone, like going from a flip phone to the cell phones as we known ’em today.
There’s a lot of benefit of just the things like looking up the weather. Yeah. No one, no one thought, 10 years ago it was like, oh yeah, I needed to have that, but, it’s really handy to have it. Right. You don’t want to give those certain things up. Yep. But, but that’s not how Steve Jobs promoted it.
Right? Yeah. That’s the intangible side of it, or it’s just like that, that added benefit, but really being able to see where all those other operators are or players are in your operation can really make a difference just from an efficiency perspective or even just reduce that stress.
My mom is running up between the house and the grain bin site. She’s multitasking from that perspective. Mm-hmm. . And so she always has insight as to where are people within the operation and, how quickly does she need to make it back out to the bin site to help out with the dumping or whatever else may be going on out there.
She no longer has to call to say, whoever’s in the grain cart or the combine, Hey, where are you guys at? And what might you need there? Can be a more specific question. I can now see, as if I’m driving the grain cart, I can see where as a combine stopped.
Yep. All right. I get a sense as to now how quickly do I need to be getting getting out there? Yeah. Do I need to kick it up or gear or do I have time?
Russ: You can even see how many bushels are in the hopper, the combine.
Isaac: Right. Right. What I mean, that’s all data that I can, quickly look at and make a decision of, alright, where do I need to go?
Where do I think I need to place myself? And just again, to expedite that that process there. I know some coworkers were working together on one of the guys’ farms. And they were talking about they were looking at where the semi was at in relation to the field. And at the time they had been doing a lot of long rows.
Isaac: And they were noticing at the point that the,
Russ: I was wondering if you weren’t gonna go there with this story. I know exactly what you’re talking about.
Isaac: So the, the combine was at least partly full and if they would’ve kept going, they would’ve filled up pretty quickly by going on on those long rolls.
And they just would’ve been sitting there and just been sitting there for an extra five, 10 minutes. And so they quickly were able to make a decision and say, all right, well, let’s not worry about the long rows. Let’s go do all these little short rows, where we’re gonna spend a lot more time turning around and, and then we would’ve had the semi sitting there, which is, also not good, right? Yep. So they’re able to use that as a decision point as to, Hey, where do I need to spend my time? And where do I need to focus? Yep. Yep. Again, how it’s, that’s hard to put a dollar value. That’s right.
Too is like, oh, I mean, you can put that math there, but you, you really never known the season Well, how much time, is anyone in my vehicle sitting? And for how long? Yeah. Yep. But you really noticed that once you’re in season, you see it happening.
Russ: that that’s, that’s right.
Finding a Fit for Your Operation
So, all right, let’s switch gears just a little bit. If I were a. Grower who’s maybe a little bit hesitant on technology and this connectivity thing. And if you were to tell them the first step to get started in this how it’s gonna enhance their farming experience, how would you approach it?
So I come up to you, whether it be in a trade show conference, I happen to see you have an Ag Leader shirt on at the grocery store, and I go, man, I’m thinking about doing this, but I’m just not sure how all this well, as I’ve heard it called “Ag Infinity” works. How would you put the, how would you put folks minds at ease, and how would you approach that?
Luke: Yeah. Well, I think at first you’d want to ask a lot of questions, right? To understand what are they, what’s their operation look like? Right? What are they already doing? Do they have a display in their tractor or the combine? Like, do they have any precision tools at all? Are they using any technology at all?
Like does the guy pull out an iPhone and they starts talking on it? Like, are there things you can pick up and perceive on where they’re at? So I would need a baseline first. Let’s just assume that, that he has a smartphone that maybe he has, maybe he has auto steer card in his
Luke: In his tractor. Right.
That’s a pretty, pretty standard thing anymore. Not, not with everyone, but for the most part say has auto steer, but maybe he isn’t doing anything with, with connectivity or data. Right. Is that a fair assumption? Is that
Luke: Is that what you look like? Grocery getter?
Russ: Yeah. Sure. Fair enough. .
Luke: Perfect. I would, I would just kinda ask some questions like, what do you want?
Are you looking for easier access to your information? Is there something that you want to use it for? Maybe says, yeah, I’d like to have, I’d like to be able to see my yield maps. I’m not interested in messing with it on computer. Or maybe I just like to have more access to things so I can show my brother or Yeah.
Or, or my agronomist that I work with. I would recommend that one, you need to start with a display, right? So you need to have one of our InCommand displays and in your pieces of equipment, whether that’s a planter or if that’s in your combine, if that’s in your sprayer, the beauty of our display is that you can use it across all the different facets of your operation, right?
So we’re full farm solution use that same InCommand display, sprayer, planter, you use auto steer, combine, and you can move it around too, right? So it’s pretty versatile. Mm-hmm. . So I would recommend you would start there. You’re gonna need a GPS signal if you don’t already have one. Yep. If you already have one, we could use that.
Depending on what you’re doing for auto steer, there’s some other things you consider. Talk about the display, plug it into whatever those essential operations are on the farm. So, planter sprayer, I would, I would record everything. Cause you never know. Yeah. What’s going to be that contributor that you uncover that influence yield, right?
Yep. You better have access to all that information. Need to not record it, right? Yeah. So I would plug it in, even in the tillage. I’d put it in the tillage tractor. Just record those passes. You, you would be amazed by the amount of maps that I have seen just from tillage. And Isaac’s seen ’em too, just based on the pattern that tillage machine was moving across the field.
Some unnecessary action. Maybe they were created. It shows right up on a yield map. It’s crazy. So we record those operations. You could get started with a, you mentioned it before, but you could create free account, right? Mm-hmm. . So you, you could upload that information into that virtual usb, if you wanna call it that.
That’s one way to start. If you want to see that data on your iPhone, you want to have easy access to it. You need to get AgFiniti essentials license. I would, I would really point them in the direction of their nearest dealer so then that dealer can come out and have a conversation, let them better understand what exactly they’re trying to do on their operation.
But definitely the display, you gotta start there. Then if you want to do more,
Russ: it’s a good, it’s a good point cuz there’s a real good chance that they’ve got a local dealer who knows the operation better than I do. And that’s, that’s really importantto create that relationship.
Luke: It is, yeah. It, it is super important. Like every operation is so unique and what they’re trying to understand or uncover may be completely different than what you anticipated. You really have to understand what are they already working with, what do they want to do? And then, you know, our professional, well trained dealer network start to prescribe a solution for you from there?
Russ: Yeah. Something you said there brought this up in this last trade show season that we went through. I had a couple of individuals company asked me about software, and in case we didn’t clarify, of course, AgFiniti is our cloud-based platform in SMS, both basic and advanced or our more local based platforms.
And depends on who you talk to, what folks are comfortable with and I specifically had a handful of guys approach me over the winter and ask me, Hey, tell me about SMS, because they had local based platforms that those were all going cloud-based and they weren’t necessarily ready to go and do that and something, and these guys didn’t have any Ag Leader equipment.
And so that’s something on SMS especially to note that. Yeah, sure. I mean, I’ve got a mortgage to make. I just assume everybody had all Ag Leader equipment, but it doesn’t, it doesn’t always work out that way. And that is a, is definitely something where SMS shines brightly, whether it be a mixed fleet or somebody that’s got all green equipment or red equipment, SMS is powerful enough that we can read in data without having to do all sorts of fancy importing or widgetry.
It just reads that data in and creates a singular platform for all of your precision ag data. And I, I, I think that’s important enough to mention cuz I don’t know that, you know, if folks assume, hey, we manufacture precision ag electronics at Ag Leader, oh there’s, their desktop software probably only reads their equipment.
That’s, that’s definitely not the case usually when I’m showing folks the desktop software and I’m showing them the import screen or the read data screen, it’s easier for me to tell ’em what data we can’t read in than what we can. Cuz the list is just so long.
The Future of Data and Connectivity
Let’s talk a little bit about the future. So Isaac, you’re a product owner. I don’t know if we’re gonna get any big scoops here today. You’re gonna let loose with something.
We decided not to get the bourbon out, but
Isaac: that was your first mistake, .
Luke: So podcast isn’t over yet.
Russ: Where do you see AgFiniti going? SMS going? You know, I’m assuming they’re not gonna be, you know, we’re not, obviously we’ve got a cloud platform with that AgFiniti and more of a local based platform, the workhorse, so to speak, being SMS. Where do you see some enhancements coming with that in the future?
And I’m assuming we’re not gonna have something where we’ve made them into one. We’re gonna want a cloud platform, or we’re gonna want a local platform at least, you know, for the immediate future.
Isaac: Yeah. You know, they both do things well independently. It’s one of those nice things about the way those, they’re both set up. They can be used independently or they can be used together depending on how you wanna do that.
Isaac: So and we’re investing in both those platforms pretty continually. And you can see that based off the releases that we’re kicking out every couple times a year.
Russ: We also sorry I’m interrupting you here. We have on, on Afinity have the ability to actually even read data in from a couple of other companies out there. What other cloud platforms can we read data in from?
Isaac: Yeah, so today we are connected to John Deere’s Operations Center and Climate FieldView. We can download files from both of those cloud platforms and then we’re able to not only not only download, but we can also process the maps for those as well.
But in addition to that, this spring we released the ability to process a lot of other ones. Kinzie, CNH, AGCO that there’s also a generic iso option in there. So anybody that’s using an ISO XML file format would be in there. And I think we, we even went back to supporting the old insights.
For anybody that’s still wanting to use those, bringing those ILF files, so I’m probably forgetting some other ones, in that mix. But there’s definitely a range there. And so we’re, we are, our first target was definitely anything for what’s currently out there, current gen, and then maybe a prior gen display from most of the companies that are out there.
Russ: That, that is, this doesn’t necessarily have something to do with connectivity, but I do think this is so very important in the electronics world or really any world, but especially the electronics world, if you get more than a generation back, there’s, you generally don’t find support for anything.
And I get asked those questions and I’ve been around Ag Leader since our first generation of modern, the YM 2000, and we still repair those things. As long as we can get parts for it. Right. We, we still work on this if we don’t have like planned obsolescence. Well I didn’t, I was gonna get that word out, but that’s not something that we do because that just leaves a bad taste in people’s mouth. So any chance we get to, to be able to have reverse compatibility the next best example of that is when we came out with the InCommand system, if somebody had an older yield monitor system, say from an insight or an Integra versus a, an Edge, all they had to do was buy a little one foot adapter cable and we plug right into it and it works.
That’s important that we can do all that. Where do you see the near future going? , I don’t wanna give any trade secrets away. I need to keep a job, but, where are we going?
Isaac: Yeah, well I wanted to say on your, on your file format one.
Isaac: Just for a moment. Cause one of the things from a data perspective is like, if you don’t have access to actually make maps of that data you can’t make those decisions. Yeah. , and sometimes you need some of that historical data to be able to see what are those individual trends.
Or sometimes you buy this new machine, new to you machine and you’re not quite ready to upgrade the display in there you need to use it for at least a season, maybe a little longer. Right. But that’s an important piece of your operation. So if you can’t have all that data, that data is lost and it becomes moldy really quick, unless, you can find someone else to help facilitate that long term.
To me, a lot of pieces always kind of falls into this, simplicity and connectivity. And so we were talking about anything we can do based off the user feedback to simplify processes for people, that’s always something that we’re looking at.
That’s something I get to go around with. You talked to Corey Weddle a couple episode episodes ago and Aaron Freeline. Always kind of talking through how do we simplify that process just from a general data management perspective. But then also part of that is the connectivity to other platforms.
I see that as always being a way to simplify things. Anything you can do for that digital, that USB stick or wherever data is, how can you get into one spot so you can make those decisions. Yeah. Those are those are big things and partly because once you have that, then you can make so many more decisions.
Russ: That’s right.
Isaac: If I’ve gotta open up five different apps on my, on my phone,
Russ: yeah. You’re not gonna do it.
Isaac: You’re just not gonna do it. Takes too much time or you stop at the first one and realize, all right, that’s enough to kind of get me going. But it’s not enough to really drill down that thing.
Russ: And that gets us back to, again, what Michael used to say was that, , your clutch or whatever you name your widget, that’s great part of precision ag. There’s savings, there’s efficiencies to be had there, but I just believe that this data portion of it is exponentially more important if you’re willing to use it.
And if we can make it simple. Through AgFiniti, through SMS through our connectivity, all the stuff that we’re doing it, it makes those opportunities a lot more feasible. Right?
Isaac: So kind building off that, once you have that data that opens up room for doing something more from an analytic perspective.
Anything that we can do, just expedite things there. But I would say we’re also looking at what else can we do in the field to to help things from that perspective. So we talked about some of the benefits of DisplayCast earlier CartAce, that type of scenarios like where you can make those real time decisions and whether the equipment just automatically does that for you or whether that’s something that helps facilitate the operator are both things that were of high interest for us.
Russ: Yeah, I agree with that. I agree with that. Luke, I’m gonna, I’m gonna give you the last word. I’m gonna throw you a softball being you’re the dealer happiness guy. So, so after we’ve done all this, man, I’m sold on Ag Leader. I want to get into AgFiniti, I want to get it InCommand display.
Where to Start
How do growers get started with AgFiniti, SMS? How would somebody that maybe bought a used piece of equipment and he wants to update his Ag Leader equipment. What’s his next step? What’s he doing? ,
Luke: I think you know the answer to this one. I’m gonna, I’m gonna really recommend that they reach out to their nearest Ag Leader dealer.
We have a lot of great resources online, like, don’t underestimate our YouTube page. We have a ton of great tutorials Yeah. On how our hardware products work, on how our software products work, whether they’re SMS or they’re our cloud AgFiniti platform. We have a ton of resources online, so you can learn as much as you want on there.
But at the end of the day, I’m gonna recommend that you reach out to a local Ag Leader dealer. We have a dealer locator on our website. We’ve got all of our dealers listed on there. They’re gonna be able to, again, better understand your operation and tailor a solution that really fits your needs.
I would, I would really caution against if you talk to someone and they don’t ask you any questions about your operation and present you with a solution, I would really question their motive in that situation. Right? So you gotta understand their operation. And our dealers are great. They’re, they’re the best in the industry.
They’re, they’re well trained, they’re very, very knowledgeable. They can help you make the most out of what you already have with your precision equipment, but they can also recommend what to add on to move forward. And maybe that doesn’t mean you’re gonna add everything on in year one.
Maybe it’s a exactly multi-year process that you can define together. But we have a, we have a great, well-trained dealer network that I would, I’d really recommend leveraging. Now
Russ: I’m gonna, I’m gonna ask, I ask you a question here in a second, but I wanted to follow up. You know, you’d mentioned, , the dealer finder on agleader.com and folks go on there, type in their zip code or identify where they’re at.
They’re gonna see some dealers, but some of ’em they’re gonna notice have got a slightly different little blue icon with those. And you’d mentioned training. I’m currently here in Ames in our production facility. Right next door to us is an academy where we actually do dealer training.
Not, not every day, year round, but year round. We have, we have trainings. We were doing ’em last week. Mm-hmm. And so we have these Blue Delta dealers. Would you unpack those guys just a little bit and explain why we’ve differentiated Blue Delta dealers?
Luke: Yeah. Yeah, you bet. Blue Delta is our highest level of dealership.
So if you go to our dealer locator, as Russ mentioned, you’ll see the little blue chevron icon on there. Those are the elite of the elite, right? So those are dealers that have committed, have gone through training understand all of our products. They’ve sold a certain dollar amount too.
So they’re vested in us. We’re invested in them. They’re really the cream of the crop when it comes to, there you go precision dealers.
Russ: There you go. Now, now, Isaac, you were, you had something I think you wanted to bring up.
Isaac: Yeah, I, you know, I, I really appreciate Luke’s answer there. And the I want to give just a little extra carrot to go along with that.
So as we were talking earlier, there are definitely some things, free things you get to do with AgFinity. But with both us SMS as well as AgFiniti we do have free trials for those. Oh yeah. So there’s a 30 day free trial for an AgFiniti essentials license. And so I want really wanted to share those.
Like, Hey, there’s an op opportunity to try this. All you gotta do is bring a hotspot to your cab, and you can unlock that possibility for 30 days to give that a tryout. But I think it’s really important to follow up with, don’t forget what Luke just says. Like, follow up with a trained dealer to make sure that you’re taking the best advantage of that.
Yeah. And you’re not, and you’re not missing things. And, having that dealer, that’s that trusted advisor our dealer behind you, they’re gonna be able to answer so many questions for not only just for what you’re is initially on your head, but just thinking about things from a whole, from a holistic perspective.
Russ: So we’ve got a 30 day AgFiniti trial. Do we have an SMS trial?
Isaac: Yes. And if we have an SMS, that’s for 20, 21 days.
Russ: Okay. That’s right. That’s right. So you’ve got the ability to try it out before you make the investment again, especially if you’re maybe not as familiar with Ag Leader and you’re looking to bring in data from, your other brand X displays, you can do all that and try it out.
So that’s, yeah, that, I think that’s pretty powerful to, to try it before you buy it, so to speak. So Luke, anything you want to add to that?
Luke: I don’t think so. I think I actually did a good job describing the free trials of HIT that we have available. I mentioned it earlier. I would, I would definitely check out our YouTube channels.
Oh, yeah. If you’re the person that likes to try something out on your own or maybe is the, is the person that, that, that likes to install technology on their own. That’s great. That’s awesome. I’d recommend checking out those YouTube videos first. Yep. And then go and download SMS or then go and get, get registered with AgFiniti.
I think that will help your experience moving forward with it. But a lot of great resources online. Again, great dealer network out there. Great conversation. I’m super excited to see where our connectivity and our data platforms and options continue to evolve to when I think about the future, man, there’s just, I think we’re just at the tip of the iceberg with, with connectivity and with really leveraging the power of information coming from these machines that we have access to.
Isaac said it earlier when you asked him about the future and be able to make those split second decisions in the field or, or being assisted with making some of those decisions. I think there’s just, there’s so much opportunity there that I would highly recommend that getting onboard and connected now.
So you’ve got that platform in place, so as this technology continues to continues to advance, that you’re in a position to where you’re ready to integrate it into your operation.
Russ: Yeah, like I said collecting this data, these displays are just, they make it so easy. So we better wind this down.
It’s gonna become Miller time here real soon. So. You guys, we, we unpacked a lot of stuff here. I have a ton of fun with this Isaac, Luke, thank you guys for joining me and if anybody’s got any questions, just reach out. So thanks guys. I appreciate it.
Isaac: Thanks, Russ.
Luke: Yeah, thank you Russ.
Isaac: See you luke.