What I learned from my conversation with Brunel and Jenn Sabourin from Antara Agronomy
Farmers are typically pitched against one another in a perpetual battle for scarce resources... land and profit (they don't make more of either it's often said).
However, according to these two married agronomists who run an agronomic consulting business and research peer group in the Red River Valley in Manitoba, farmers are more willing to share information amongst one another than in the past, and there are many benefits to collaboration.
There's historically been a lot of individualism with producers because you're often competing with your neighbors. Guys hold their cards very close to their chest. They're maybe not as willing to share, other than the coffee shop yield as you're going around the table. I think the newer, next generations are more open to sharing. Most of our clients we mentioned are within a 20 mile radius of where we work, but they're more willing to share with other producers that are maybe five, 10, 20 miles away than they would be with your closest neighbors. If a piece of land comes up for sale they want to be able to compete for it. I think that's changing too with social media and with sharing, farmers are lot more connected to the outside world than they may have been in the past in a lot of rural areas. We look at how strong agriculture is on Twitter. There's a lot of sharing that goes on there that maybe we wouldn't have seen 10, 15 years ago, 20 years ago."
One of the keys to the success of Antara Agronomy's peer group has been the accountability that has been created to help bring trials to fruition.
"We have an on farm research network or a group of growers.
So there is accountability that forces the growers to do a proper job of implementing and collecting the data. In our group, we typically run 15 to 20 producers. We'll host two trials, each do two field scale trials, but then we pool all the data together. It's tremendous value for our growers that they do two trials, but they get the results back from the forty."
Collaboration is also a theme between the dynamic duo in their own professional relationship...
"We're both passionate about agriculture. We're both scientifically minded. We both like trying to find answers and teaching others or sharing knowledge with others, teaching them things that we've learned or passing the information on.
It's been a really nice fit that way... Jenn with the teaching and science background really integrates well with doing research, and writing reports. We work really well together because I'm more of the dreamer and the big visionary thinker, and see the big picture...whereas Jenn is more organized, and pays attention to detail. We compliment each other in that way. I'm the dreamer, she's the doer."
Dive deeper into the podcast and read the transcript here.