Two-and-a-half years after acquiring Red Deer-based farm consulting company Agri-Trend, Trimble is changing the way it works with the independent agronomy and grain marketing advisors that make up the Agri-Trend network.
The company is focusing on providing its new digital platform to Agri-Trend’s affiliated “coaches,” while no longer offering administrative services, such as pricing and customer invoicing, and in-house analytical services for coaches.
The new platform, called Advisor Prime, combines components of the Agri-Data Solutions software, developed by Agri-Trend, with other digital products from Trimble to provide agronomic information and recommendations, farm data management tools, and a forum to facilitate interactions between advisors, customers, and specialized experts.
“Our Agri-Trend coaches are independent businesses, and we’re a service provider to them, so we provide the software platform and a number of different components that help them run their business,” explains Darren Howie, general manager of Trimble Ag Business Solutions and former Agri-Trend president, in the interview below.
He notes many of the coaching businesses in the Agri-Trend network have grown to the point where the back-office support for starting and managing a business is no longer required. One of the biggest changes farm customers will notice is that invoicing will come directly from their local coach in the future, rather than from Trimble, says Howie.
“Some of the services we’ve been providing have not given as much value to the coaches as they did before,” he explains. “…we’re focusing our resources on tools that can help them be more profitable and scale their business.”
The changes also mean the company will not provide in-house analysis by specialized experts or “senior coaches” for the Agri-Trend network. As with the administrative services, he says advisors in their network will be able to source and provide these services and expertise in the way that best suits their customer base, while Trimble focuses on providing them with digital tools through the Advisor Prime platform.
That means the company is no longer providing grain marketing recommendations and insight to the Agri-Trend market coach network. Trimble is aiming to shift to a software provider relationship with these advisors, through Advisor Prime.
As for historical field records and existing data, Trimble says customers and coaches will still be able to access info from its legacy platforms, including Agri-Data Solutions and Trimble Ag Software.
Howie says they expect the transition will be complete by September 1.
Agri-Trend was founded by Rob Saik as an agronomy consulting business in Red Deer, Alberta, in 1997. At the time of the sale to Trimble in November 2015, Agri-Trend’s network included more than 110 affiliated coaches providing agronomic, grain marketing, and management consulting services to farmers in Canada and the U.S.
Listen to Trimble’s Darren Howie discuss the changes happening with Agri-Trend and what it means for Agri-Trend farm customers: