An Interview With Al Myers

Melissa SandfortAg Leader, Insights Weekly

What does the future hold for precision agriculture? How will Ag Leader contribute to it? No need to seek out a fortuneteller. Al Myers, the founder and President of Ag Leader Technology, has a clear vision. And here’s what he has to say about it:

Where do you see the future of precision agriculture headed?
AM: Precision products and practices have been adopted by a significant number of growers. It’s now to the point where it can be considered mainstream technology that is being adopted by the “practical majority.” In the future, it will be required technology, which must be used to maintain a profitable operation over a long-term basis. The next revolution in precision technologies will be real-time connectivity between machines in the field, between field machines and the office, or between machines and the farm owner, manager, consultant or supplier. This will happen through wireless communication technologies being built into new machines or retrofitted onto older machines. Just as everyone in a modern office can communicate with any associate on-site or in other locations through the internet, field machinery will be able to communicate with any other machine, person or computer which needs to know what it’s doing, or needs to send it data or retrieve data from it.

What are the top things you’d like to accomplish (or see happen in the industry) in the future?
AM: My number-one objective is to keep Ag Leader on a sensible and profitable growth path so that it continues to be a viable independent company that can stay independent forever. I want to see Ag Leader continue to strengthen its position as a full line supplier of precision products. My objective is to have the best and most complete line of precision products available to the market. Ag Leader always has been a supplier of premium products, and we will continue to be that kind of a supplier. I want us to be able to supply the best of everything that a grower may need in the way of precision technologies.

I would also like to see Ag Leader continue to increase its global presence. We have done business internationally for many years, but we are starting to make investments in major foreign markets by hiring employees in several of the major overseas ag markets, such as Europe, Australia and South America.

If you could say one thing to every grower about precision farming, what would you say?
AM: Precision farming practices are here to stay and are going to be required for growers who make their primary living on the farm to grow and be profitable. Whether you enjoy using the technology or not, you need it to stay profitable in the face of rising costs. If you need assistance making it all work for you, make sure you align yourself with a local dealer or consultant who can keep it all working smoothly.

Since I started Ag Leader 20 years ago, there is a whole new generation of young folks who grew up with technology and love to work with it. The value of keeping your precision technology working properly and expanding the ways you use it has great potential value, and you need to make sure it is giving you the return that it should. Gradually expand your use of precision technologies, rather than holding back and waiting to make the big jump someday. If you adopt it gradually, your transition will be easier.