A few weeks ago I wrote a brief story on a farmer who saves a chunk of change each year—10% to 15% total—by buying his seed corn online. Soon after, I heard from a handful of other farmers and retailers who complained that I didn’t share the potential down sides to buying seed online. They had a valid point. So, with that in mind, I wanted to highlight some of the ways you can expect to benefit from working with a local seedsman. Here are four:
- A good seedsman will want to spend time with you to talk about your soils, tillage, fertility program and management practices. That kind of discussion will go a long way toward helping him help you identify the best products for your fields. In the process, it could make up for a lot of difference in price compared with shopping on the Internet or purchasing through a buyers’ club.
- Knowledgeable seedsmen can answer your questions about the strengths and weaknesses of the brand they represent as well as major competitors’ products. They know your weather conditions and what kinds of diseases and insects you can expect in a given year and the potential impact on hybrids and varieties you’re interested in buying.
- Local seedsmen are a valuable resource when Mother Nature throws curveballs, like she has in 2019. As farmers struggled to get crops in the ground, many needed to exchange full-season hybrids for earlier season products. Understandably, seedsmen took care of their customers first and farmers who bought online, last. Along with that, seedsmen helped advise customers on where and whether to replant. Looking ahead to harvest, your local seedsman can help you determine when crops are ready, how to prioritize your fields for harvest and evaluate the results.
- Here's a benefit many of us might not think about. Buying from a local retailer or seedsman helps keep your dollars local. When you buy online you don’t typically know who pockets those dollars or how they’re used. When you buy local, you know that some portion of your investment will stay in—and benefit—your community.
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