In early 2010, Precision Planting, Inc., launched a new effort to reach farmers. Designing and building a 53' classroom on wheels, the company hit the road with the Planter
“We at Precision Planting are passionate about starting with the planter,” says Gregg Sauder, founder and owner. “We’re focused on what it’s going to take to get a high ear count.”
The custom-built trailer accommodates up to 60 farmers. A three-hour presentation on planter setup, metering systems, monitoring systems, row spacing and variable-rate technology as well as the company’s products is given twice a day at each stop. With three stops a week, the company plans to canvass farm country from Wisconsin to North Carolina and reach 10,000 farmers this year.
“This is something my wife, Cindy, and I have talked about for years,” Sauder says. “We typically have 2,000 farmers come to our summer meetings in Tremont, Ill., and this is a way for us to travel to the farmers instead of them traveling to us.”
Inside the mobile unit, four rows of tiered seating make up a 40'x22' classroom. A 26' high-definition screen displays a multimedia presentation to aid in the learning process.
“This is a self-contained classroom that we can climate-control,” Sauder explains. “We’ve been in 18° below zero temperatures on this tour.” A rotating display in one corner features a demo planter row unit, and a second row unit outfitted with the company’s products is on the other side. Opposite the vertical turntable display is a four-row modified planter setup to illustrate live seed metering and other planter functions.
The multimedia presentation allows for live demonstrations to be projected on the screen. The trailer is equipped with wireless Internet so the newest addition to Precision Planting’s product lineup, AutoMap, can be presented to the entire classroom in real time.
The events are hosted by Precision Planting dealers and the presentations are given by a rotating set of Precision Planting employees, including district sales managers. Attendees are invited by the dealer hosting the free event. The first leg of the tour concluded in early April 2010. And the second leg ran up until harvest this fall.
“For nine months of the year, we hope to be in farmers’ communities talking to them through our local dealer and precision representatives,” Sauder says.