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They Speak To Ag

Chuck Zimmerman

Ag SpeakHere’s an interesting concept. A company to do online market research of farmers that’s owned by farmers. I’ve got an appointment to speak with Steve Hawkins tomorrow and will bring you that interview in next week’s ZimmCast.

The first and only online market research company owned in part by farmers has been formed. AgSpeak was spearheaded by a group of ag business professionals seeking a better way to enable agricultural suppliers to get accurate information to make sound business decisions, while also fairly compensating farmers for the information they share.

“The concept of AgSpeak was driven by the need for businesses that serve the agricultural community to connect with key decision makers and for farmers, in-turn, to receive fair value for the information they share,” said Steve M. Hawkins, president of AgSpeak. AgSpeak gives farmers a voice and ownership of the information they share, Hawkins said.

All owner-members receive an annual dividend based upon their level of participation in AgSpeak surveys. The farmers’ ownership is held in a co-op formed under Iowa law whose board of directors manages the farmers’ equity and looks after their interests. “Not only do farmers profit from providing feedback, but they can participate from anywhere they have access to the Internet, at any time that’s convenient and at their own pace, without the interruption of intrusive phone calls,” Hawkins said.

Suppliers benefit because AgSpeak can give them a competitive edge by helping them target qualified individuals and conduct research online, versus time-consuming traditional telephone or mail surveys. “The ability of companies to have directed and open-ended questions without bias from the researcher, creates more depth of customer knowledge,” Hawkins said.

AgSpeak is recruiting members, and a survey of growers’ planting intentions for 2007 will be fielded soon. Prospective members can join by logging on at Companies interested in learning more about the capabilities of AgSpeak can call 1-800-325-4509 or e-mail .