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The Aha Moment of Agriculture Since 2005, Winnipeg-based Farmers Edge has been delivering on a value proposition consisting of high-tech data recording and analysis paired with grassroots expertise and communication to give farmers-you got it-an edge. Founders Wade Bames and Curtis Mckinnon, self-described "prairie-boy farmers," parlayed their generational farming experi. ence into agronomy degrees, then combined technical knowledge with their own DNA to create a company capitalizing on the relatively new agricultural concept of variable rate technology (VRT). VRT is based on the notion that technology can provide farmers with valuable data to help maximize everything from manure disbursement to harvesting time- lines. A relatively simple concept, but one that took some time to prove scientifically. "When I started in agronomy, farmers didn't really believe in soil testing," admits Blames, reflecting on his humble origins in the early 2000s. "What would happen is that agronomists would go and do soil testing by taking, say, 50 core samples of soil, sending them to a lab, and then coming back to the farmers with a recommended volume of ferti- izer to apply-which farmers would not believe, feeling that the number was too low." This perception of soil testing continued unabated until Barnes and Farmers Edge developed a different approach. "What we learned was that if you treated every field based on an aver- age soil test, two-thirds of the fields would be incorrectly treated no matter what. So once I realized that when we broke it up we got good data, we could then build a prescription map, and we got an excellent outcome. We got a science-based outcome based on infor. mation that was accurate in the field." Barnes began to realize that farmers had the same perception of other agronomistic tools from weather modelling, or predictive modelling. And that's when it hit him. "Agricul ture is all about math. Cropping's planned on this date, you have this amount of water- holding capacity, you get this amount of moisture, you get this amount of heat, and you get this amount of outcome. That's how it worked," he explains with an emphatic hand- slam to the desk. "Once we took an investment and were able to follow through on this concept, and deliver it affordably to our farmers, we were then truly able to provide value." If marketing, at its very core, is the discovery and satisfaction of needs, Farmers Edge has taken that meaning to a higher level. Discovering needs whose satisfaction its custom- ers had thought unattainable is key to the success of Farmers Edge and its farmers. QUESTIONS 1. Chapter 1 introduces you to the marketing concept of the value proposition. Explain what this term means and prepare a short statement describing the value proposition for Farmers Edge. 2. Describe the customers of Farmers Edge. 3. Who are the ultimate consumers of Farmers Edge products?
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