Why Don’t Farmers Collaborate More?

After sitting through the morning session at the BASF Ag Media Summit something really struck me. Crop protection, trait developers and plant breeding companies are doing a great job of leveraging their assets and intellectual capital through collaboration to bring products to the market faster to benefit farmers and consumers. Companies like BASF and Monsanto fiercely compete globally, yet they will set their differences aside to collaborate andbring DroughtGard corn to the market.

Farmers are very naturally independent people. It is not natural for many farmers to share equipment, land and labor. Many farmers tend to not want to rely on other farmers in the middle of planting or harvest. There are definitely some great examples of farmers sharing resources but overall this is not the norm.  Naturally farmers like each other but the strive for independence does limit the use of collaboration as an efficiency or cost management stra

The amount of collaboration between companies behind the scenes is staggering.  Instead of going at it alone all the time, companies like BASF, Syngenta, Cargill and Monsanto sign collaboration agreements to develop technologies and products for farmers.  The additional value that is created through these collaborations creates immense  for farmers and consumers in general.

With the cost of land, equipment and labor increasing, does it make sense that farmers collaborate so little?    Are you planning to collaborate with other farmers more or less in the future?  Is collaboration with other famers a strategy that more farmers should employ, similar to Crop Protection and Seed companies?

 

Shaun Haney

Shaun grew up on a family seed farm in Southern Alberta. Haney Farms produces, conditions and retails wheat, barley, canola and corn seed. Shaun Haney is the founder of RealAgriculture.com. @shaunhaney

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