Six months ago, I went to the doctor for a check-up. The doctor was blunt. He told me I need to eat more fruits and vegetables, and exercise more. And most disturbing to me, he told me to lose weight! At the time, I wasn’t very thrilled with his advice. But I listened. Since then, I started exercising a little more. I stopped eating between meals (for the most part). And best of all, I have lost 15 pounds.
What if doctors failed to initiate difficult discussions or offer advice? What if doctors withheld information fearing their patients would find a different doctor? Most doctors don’t make a lot of money on wellness visits. They make more money when testing for problems and when procedures are involved. But that doesn’t stop doctors from giving tough recommendations.
Recently I overheard an ag retailer say he thought talking to farmers about conservation was not a good practice because the conversation could damage his relationship with the farmer. He went on to explain that it was unlikely he could make much money by offering conservation services; that ultimately profit was in product sales.
What if my doctor had refused to give wellness advice? I know my doctor does not make his money on my wellness visits. Instead he makes his money on sick people. He would make a lot more money from me if I had high blood pressure and diabetes. If I were hospitalized, he would make even more money. Fortunately, none of this crazy thinking stopped my doctor from doing his job.
Likewise, as a farmer I would want my most trusted advisor, my ag retailer, to help me with conservation issues. Sure, I might be I little shocked if my ag retailer suggested I could reduce soil erosion and thereby improve my soil health. I might feel a little uneasy if he told me that I needed a waterway. And I might be a little disturbed if he said I was partly responsible for the local water quality issue. However, I know that I would respect my ag retailer more if he told me what I needed to know, not what I wanted to hear. If you are the most trusted advisor, your relationship will withstand the strain of straightforward advice.
We’d like to add that if you’re an ag retailer interested in helping your clients with conservation, you might check into Agren’s ConservationAnalyzer. Tom describes it in this blog post.