(Joey Koebelen with his John Deere 8300)
Deep Sand Technology (DST) is an agricultural startup based in Lone Wolf, Oklahoma. Joey Koebelen, the founder and a fourth-generation farmer, started his entrepreneurial journey back in 2021 to help those in agriculture find quality and affordable solutions to improve their operations.
Why did you decide to become a dealer?
"It all started in April 2021. I grow peanuts. When harvesting them, you dig the peanuts out of the ground with an implement with a digger blade. If you're off more than 2 inches you lose peanuts when digging and after digging you come in with a combine and if you get off with it you lose peanuts also. Studies are saying that using RTK on peanuts can reduce peanut loss by over 500 pounds per acre. I then started asking my neighbor to see if they knew of any affordable autosteer systems. I was then introduced to FJDynamics, talked to the salesperson, and made the purchase. I was blown away by the product — how easy it was and how simple it was — but it needed some changes for the US market. That's when I got the unique opportunity to not only use the product but work with FJDynamics directly on the changes and make it better for US farmers. Then I decided to become a dealer."
How do you help farmers as a dealer?
"I have this client who farms and manages over 5,000 acres of land and was enabled to expand with the help of FJDynamics' affordable precision ag solution. He was planning to take on some more land and was about to take on a pretty big loan on a tractor. But if he did it, he would be stuck with only one tractor. Then he saw what I was doing and we talked. In the end, instead of investing all the money on one new tractor with a built-in autosteer, he decided to purchase some older equipment and outfit them with autosteer. He has five autosteer systems now and he's able to farm more land."
"I also knew two other farmers who have a nice and new John Deere that's autosteered already but they are not even using RTK on it. That tractor, together with the autosteer setup, planter, and all the other equipment, probably cost him $350,000, but it does not run accurately. Sure, it's nice to have more features, but when it comes to straight rows, ease of use, and managing more acres, he's made the right choice. With the price of one new tractor, he can afford multiple tractors with autosteer. The compatibility of the FJDynamics autosteer gave him the opportunity to expand with more equipment that is as efficient as a new one.
What is a dealer's day like?
"I can say that I am like a fireman — I put out fires. If there is something that other people can't handle — either on the farm, in my own company or something with product development, I handle the hard part. Sometimes it can be all day. Going forward, I will keep working with FJDynamics to develop new products and add more to my product portfolio."
What advice do you have for people who want to be precision ag dealers?
"I don't want to mislead people, but in my case, I'm fortunate to have the equipment on which I can use precision ag solutions. So I was able to become an expert. To make sure the product is true to what other people say about it, I would do research on it, request to use it, and have other people try it at the same time before selling. I often joke to other people that my dad is the best tester — if he can understand it, use it, and not break it, it's a great product. It might not be for everyone, but I know it may help many people in the same situation as me. Instead of letting small-time farmers take risks trying out products and solutions, I set out to find quality and affordable products, use them on my own farm, and give them my honest opinion. Being a precision ag dealer takes a lot of hard work, time, commitment, and also some capital for investment. You need to spend time learning about the systems and focus on after-sales support. Also, be open-minded. If you follow the structure that everybody else follows, you're limited. The situation may vary, so you have to be creative and figure out a way to make things work. I grew up in an area where people say 'That's not how we've done it. This is how we do it.' I don't fit that mold. I attribute my success in my life to questioning how people did it. Everybody can have their own paths."