CropLife 100: 30/30 Vision

For those of us here at CropLife® magazine, this is a special occasion. Thirty years ago this month, the then-editors of this publication decided to compile a listing of the nation’s top ag retail establishments. Thus the CropLife 100 was born!

Over the past three decades, this annual survey has served as a benchmark for the health of the entire marketplace. It has given rise to a ranking of the top retailers by sales, dozens of industry trends articles, hundreds of graphs and countless hours of debating all of the above by the readers themselves. Elsewhere in this edition, you will find a detailed look at some of the most important ag retail industry-oriented events to take place during the CropLife 100’s tenure.

For me personally, the CropLife 100 represents a special effort. When I first started at what was then known as Farm Chemicals magazine in the fall of 2000, helping compile that year’s CropLife 100 was the very first project I ever worked on. At that time (before computer databases), all of the collected data had to be figured out using pen, calculator and paper — a process which typically took weeks to complete!

Looking back at the data from those early CropLife 100 issues is eye-opening. Back in 1984, the first listing had ag retailers earning more than $80 million per year at the top. On the first CropLife 100 I worked on in 2000, the top companies earned in the $500 million sales range.

Today, ag retailers earning $80 million per year fall in the middle of the pack. The top ag retailers in 2013 have yearly revenue in the billions, not millions, of dollars.

The crop input/service category breakout has also radically changed. Back in 1984, crop protection products held the lion’s share of all industry sales, with fertilizer a distant second and seed barely a blip on the sales radar. Today, fertilizer is the undisputed king of the crop inputs/services financial hill. Seed sales account for not quite 1/5 of total revenues. Meanwhile, crop protection products sits in second place, down approximately 50% from their glory days in the mid-1980s.

Of course, what’s really fun is to speculate what the CropLife 100 (and by extension, the entire ag retail industry) will look like 30 years down the road in 2043. If projections are correct, the world’s population by this time will be between nine and 10 billion. I would also speculate that, due to consolidation and increased materials costs, the nation’s top ag retailers will be annually earning somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 billion, with approximately 1/3 of the companies tallying more than $1 billion in yearly sales.

Among the categories, ongoing developments in biotech seed should help push this sector to a 30% market share, probably 10% higher than the percentage held by crop protection.

So in closing, I salute the CropLife 100 for what it represents to the ag retail industry! Here’s hoping the next 30 years are as exciting and thought-provoking as the past 30 have been.

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CropLife 100 Stories
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Lemon Ag Services
August 4, 2014
The acquisition of Lemon Ag fits BRANDT’s aggressive corporate strategy of providing superior agronomic advice and services for customers in central Illinois. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis To Relocate Agribusiness Division To Denver
July 16, 2014
The move Eastward will allow Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness Division to be more accessible to relevant geographies and is expected to enhance communication and collaboration among the division’s nearly 3,000 employees. Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Acquire Illinois River Energy Ethanol Plant
May 1, 2014
CHS has signed an agreement with Sinav Ltd. to acquire 100% of the company's stock, which includes Illinois River Energy, a 133-million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant at Rochelle, IL. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
Carl Casale of CHS
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
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March 26, 2015
As the 2015 planting season gets underway, growers across the country will need crop protection products to combat pests and Read More
Lake Erie Nutrient Stewardship
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March 25, 2015
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Spreaders17 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2015
March 25, 2015
Manufacturers shoot for versatility and accuracy in this year's crop of fertilizer spreaders. Read More
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March 25, 2015
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StewardshipMapShots Integrates With DriftWatch
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Crop InputsWorld Health Organization Report Contradicts Scientific…
March 23, 2015
A new report from the World Health Organization has classified glyphosate with a “2A” rating as a probable carcinogen, a Read More
Eric SfiligojSeed Treatment Stays Necessary
March 20, 2015
Grower-customers looking to scale back spending in 2015 won’t consider seed treatment, say experts. Read More
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March 20, 2015
A newly published report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the herbicide glyphosate as a "2A-rated possible carcinogen" and the ag industry responds by circling the wagons. Read More
ManagementRetail Week: Precision survey, a technology acquisition…
March 20, 2015
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CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Launching TerraGrow Soil Inoculant
March 20, 2015
TerraGrow is a blend of beneficial bacterial and fungal spores and nutrients carefully designed to promote healthier soil and crops. Read More
Winter Wheat
AdjuvantsMax Systems Debuts New Adjuvant NanoRevolution 2.0
March 18, 2015
Added to a tank mix of glyphosate at the conservative rate of two to four ounces per acre, NanoRevolution 2.0 has proven effective in killing resistant weed species that had already had up to two applications of the leading glyphosate product. Read More
Photo credit: United Soybean Board/the Soybean Checkoff
Seed/BiotechAgnition Launches Microbial Catalyst Seed Treatment
March 18, 2015
Agnition it has launched Commence for Soybeans, a microbial catalyst seed treatment for soybeans that stimulates microbial activity for healthier soil and a superior growth environment. Read More
4R Certified, Nutrient Stewardship Council,
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March 18, 2015
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced Tyler Grain & Fertilizer Co. in Smithville, OH, has been added to Read More
V.R. "Swede" Roskam
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