By Donnie Taylor, ARA Vice President of Membership & Corporate Relations and Melisa Augusto, ARA Director of Communications & Marketing
The stock market is crashing; travel plans are cancelled; commodity prices are fluctuating; and we’re all asking ourselves, “Will I get sick? Will my family get sick?” With the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of questions keeping us up at night continues to rise. Now, more than ever, getting back to the basics is the sure way to calm our nerves and respond to the challenges being thrown our way.
During times of uncertainty, your local, trusted retailer is your ideal partner for success and peace of mind. As we head into spring planting season with so much going on in the world and local communities, here’s a handy checklist of items to discuss and plan with your retailer:
- Have you conducted or made plans for soil sampling, tillage, leveling, other ground preparations?
- Will you make changes to seed varieties or use other fertility programs to match your soil type and yield history?
- Have you mapped out your plans for fertilizer, field work, seed, seed treatment, starter fertilizer, pre emergence, early post, dormant spray, bloom spray, etc.?
- Have you planned your input needs with your retailer?
- Have you considered contracting or prepaying to assure the products of your choice are available and can be delivered when you need?
- Have you contracted fertilizer and chemical application? What about custom planting and scouting needs?
2. Early season/planting:
- Are you ready with your plans for fertilizer, insecticide, and fungicide products (including resistance management strategy) and their application?
- How will you use scouting and recommendations from your agronomist to maximize yield and returns?
3. Business planning:
- What does your cash flow look like?
- What do you currently have in inventory?
- Have you discussed financing with your retailer?
- Do you need additional labor?
- Have you secured your seasonal workers?
- Have you made plans for your employees to have access to health care?
- What are you doing for the longevity of your operation?
- Are you making plans to plant cover crops? What about minimum or no-till?
- Will you use variable rate fertilizers and other chemical applications?
- Are you practicing Integrated Pest Management (IMP) and the 4Rs?
In many cases, the retailer you’ve worked with for years probably already has many of the questions above answered for you and is ready to make recommendations. While the ag economy has been tough over the last year or two, these tumultuous times may not be the ideal circumstances to be a price shopper. Loyal, long-term customers receive countless benefits from their retailer from a big picture perspective.
The Agricultural Retailers Association works every day to ensure a promising future for America’s farmers and their trusted ag retailer. While the country and world continue to navigate uncertain times, we hope you can sleep better at night knowing that we are looking out for you and will assist with answering questions and providing resources as we can.
Best of luck for a healthy, safe and fruitful season!