Independent crop consultant provide unbiased agroecosystem solutions

Banner County wheat grower, Lyle Huffman, pointing to some of his winter wheat, in good condition, he said.

Unbiased independent agronomy recommendations, specific to an operation, is one of the many benefits producers can experience when working alongside an independent crop consultant, in turn, helping growers be as “profitable as possible.” Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association (NICCA) President Rick Schultz said.

Ongoing technology advancements throughout agriculture have resulted in growers keeping up with an ever changing industry of new and more efficient crop production options, but Schultz said, crop consultants can be a great resource for growers to maximize production.

When round up ready crops and seed technologies like BT corn came out, Schultz said, crop consultants were posed with a question if this new technology would put independent consultants out of business, Schultz said, but the answer is no, because those new technologies are just “one piece of the puzzle”.

“I think as we get more technology and information, us consultants have to adapt and overall change how we manage some things, such as how we utilize technology,” Schultz said, “But it is all just one piece of equipment in our tool box that we can utilize, to successfully help growers.”

An aspect which, Schultz said, is a key selling point for independent crop consultants, is the unbiased technical recommendations they can make.

“We (independent crop consultants) are not affiliated with any seed or chemical companies, and we make recommendations with the highest interest of the clients in mind,” Schultz said, “working for a co-op or something similar to that, individuals are selling product which they need to sell, where as we are independents and we have unbiased opinions and recommendations. . . we aren’t leaning toward using one product just because we work for that product.”

Schultz said, as an independent agronomist, himself and other consultants like to take time to learn the operation first and how the grower prefers to farm, then look at different facets of the business, including fertility, herbicide use, weeds, diseases and irrigation scheduling, among a long list of other variables of an operation which a grower may want to focus on. But, Schultz said, the simple aspect of a “fresh set of eyes” which can be extremely beneficial.

In general, Schultz said, most growers are extremely knowledgeable, but growers continue to look to independent consultants for the next step and another piece of knowledge.

“I do believe every grower can benefit by using a crop consultant, I think the people in our association bring a lot of knowledge and training to the table and we feel like we can help in many different ways,” Schultz said, “We (agronomists) are as important as the banker, and as the accountant, and I think our growers treat us with respect because they value our opinions.”