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Agrimarketing : March 2015
COVER STORY/continued from page 29 program has grown from 25 people in 2011 to around 120 people today. Specialists also report back on customer issues and needs, providing a reliable information flow to R&D, sales and marketing for future potential products and services. Brandon Doggett, Product Manager, BASF, was one of the original Innovation Specialists who joined BASF at the inception of the program. His motivation to join the newly formed team was that he saw it as an opportunity to call on farmers and help them figure out the best plan for their farm “I was really excited by the opportunity to get innovations directly from the lab to the farm,” Doggett says. “Growers were looking for new ideas and concepts, and it was rewarding to match my ideas with their drive and help them achieve their goals.” Innovation Specialists offer advice on total farm management, more than just crop protection product choices. For example, Doggett indicated that, for some of his customers, the use of aerially applied fungicides was not possible because the farms were located near U.S. military bases. “So we tried using irrigation pivots to apply the fungicides, and it worked,” the farm,” concludes Doggett. “That’s the BASF Innovation Specialist.” “Our Innovation Specialists talk about solutions for a particular farm, because they show up on that farm,” adds Kay. “They can be there as a sounding board. And we can show that BASF wants to be a successful part of the customer’s business approach, which might include Grower’s Advantage programs.” Those programs include Scott Kay, VP, U.S. Crop he recalls. “Now a number of farmers are using this practice in their areas to improve plant health and push yield.” Brandon feels that a strong Innovation Specialist has a handle on agronomics, financial markets, grain marketing, and a way to “think outside the box.” “Farmers need someone who is familiar with innovation, can think differently, and partner with them on potential savings by planning ahead for purchases of BASF products; yield advantages by using BASF comprehensive pest-control programs; a risk-sharing program for corn, wheat and soybean yields that don’t reach a defined benchmark; and potential rebates through the BASF High Yield Package program. Recently, BASF joined with John Deere Financial to offer low- or nointerest financing for the purchase of BASF products. According to Kay, this is just another way BASF can be of greater value — and a partner — to its farmer customers. 30 Agri Marketing s March 2015
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