As I put this enews column together, I’ve just spent the past week or so compiling information for our annual CropLife 100 report, scheduled to appear in the December 2013 issue. This yearly listing of the nation’s top ag retailers always presents an in-depth look at the state of agriculture, not to mention dozens of bar graphs with percentages and statistics galore.
This year’s edition is extra special because it marks the 30th time we at CropLife magazine have published our CropLife 100. As such, the issue is filled with information on the key industry events to take place during this 30-year timeframe.
For me, one of the most interesting details to emerge from this long history is just how few of today’s CropLife 100 companies were around for that first listing back in 1984. It’s 20 – although the names might be slightly different than in that first CropLife 100. As for the other 80 ag retailers, they have been swallowed up through acquisition, exited the marketplace or simply gone out of business. Doing some simple math, this means, on average, the industry has lost almost three companies per year in the past 30 years.
Naturally, this got me to wondering – how many of today’s CropLife 100 will still exist 30 years down the road when the listing turns 60? Now the rate of consolidation has slowed down some, with only a handful of ag retailers (10) disappearing from the CropLife 100 during the past five years. So I’m betting the survival rate for companies has improved and will continue to do so for the next decade or two.
Still, when the future editor of CropLife in 2043 looks back at the 2013 CropLife 100 listing I’ve just prepared, I’m guessing he/she will only recognize approximately half the names in the ranking.