Seeing Ahead

Last week, our company went through its semi-annual Team Clean process. For one day, everyone in our offices cleaned out not only their individual areas, but their entire departments as well. Truth be told, the amount of stuff that accumulates in just one year’s time is amazing – particularly the paper!

Of course, some of the fun of this exercise is coming across some article from 10 to 15 years ago that tried to predict the future of ag retail. I found such a piece in one of our magazine’s fall 1999 issues. In this article, the writer tried to predict what the average ag retailer would look like come 2010. Now that we are past this mark, it was interesting to note that predictions about the daily use of wireless/real-time communications and the increasing importance of seed sales were right on the mark. Somewhat funnier were the images of completely robotic custom applicators in the fields without a human operator in sight.

– Poll: Which technology being used in your business operation today do you think will still be the most relevant in 2020? >> Take poll

Now, undoubtedly during the next few years, someone will write an article speculating on what ag retailers will be like come the Year 2020. But predicting the next 10 years might be infinitely harder than it was predicting the past 10. For one thing, the pace of technology advancement seems to be racing ahead at near light speed. Ten years ago, predicting that there would be more technology involved in daily life seemed an easy bet. But for me to foresee what new technology-driven devices might be on the horizon seems harder. And predicting which ones such as GPS tracking and automatic steering systems will enjoy widespread usage within the ag retail marketplace is harder still to get a handle on.

Not to date myself too badly, but I remember when compact discs (CDs) were first introduced some 30 years ago. There were more portable than long-play albums and could be played in your car. It wasn’t long before everyone I knew had replaced their album collection with CDs.

Today, most of my friends who enjoy music forego buying CDs and instead download music directly to their home computers, iPads or smartphones. Practically no one buys physical CDs anymore. (In fact, during our Team Clean, I found a few old CDs I had bought into the office several years ago when I first started at our magazine. Since I long ago downloaded these same songs to my computer, I tossed them in the bin.)

What will be really fascinating to see is what other technologies our industry relies on today that may end up in the dust bin of history once we get to 2020 and beyond ….

Leave a Reply

Eric Sfiligoj Stories

Eric SfiligojCourt Rejects EPA Objection To Enlist Duo
February 1, 2016
It was pretty big news last fall when, just before Thanksgiving, the EPA attempted to withdraw its approval of Dow Read More
Soybean field
Eric SfiligojThe Biotech Crop Use Divide
February 1, 2016
A few years ago, I wrote a column speculating that the anti-biotech crop movement was beginning to lose some of Read More
Seed bags in warehouse
Eric SfiligojFeedback From IFCA: Growers Looking To Cut
January 25, 2016
For anyone paying attention to the agricultural marketplace lately, the numbers are ugly. Between 2014 and 2015, grower-customer income dropped Read More
Syngenta Sign
Eric SfiligojSyngenta In Play: Who Will Win the Prize?
January 18, 2016
Last week, while many business analysts watching in horror as global stocks tanked across the world, one agricultural company’s stock Read More
Top 100 Articles
Elburn Cooperative
CropLife 100Elburn Cooperative Members Vote To Join CHS
December 28, 2015
With 81% of eligible producers voting, 94% cast an affirmative ballot for Elburn Cooperative, a diversified agricultural retailer based out Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Farmers Cooperative-West Central Merger Approved
December 21, 2015
The members of Farmers Cooperative Co. (FC), Ames, IA, and West Central Cooperative, Ralston, IA, have both approved the merger Read More
Wheat Growers Innovation Center, Bath, SD
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Opens Innovation Center
December 21, 2015
Wheat Growers’ commitment in providing its farmer-owners with the latest in technological advancements now has a one-of-a-kind focal point, as Read More
CropLife 100ARA Selects The Andersons As 2015 Retailer Of The Year
December 9, 2015
The Agricultural Retailers Association today named Maumee, OH-based The Andersons as its Retailer of the Year for 2015. The award Read More
CPS Washington Court House John Deere Sprayer
CropLife 100Application Equipment Report: It Is Easy Being Green For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 5, 2015
On The Muppets television show, Kermit the Frog is famous for singing a song about the troubles he encounters in Read More
Fertilizer Bin
CropLife 100Fertilizer Sales: Another Down Year For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 4, 2015
In pure number terms, the fertilizer category still dominates all crop inputs/services among CropLife 100 ag retailers. In 2015, for Read More
Latest News
EquipmentCase Unveils 2000 Series Early Riser Planter At NFMS
February 10, 2016
Case IH revealed the all-new 2000 Series Early Riser planter to media and attendees at the opening of the National Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta: Keep Ag In Mind During Election Season
February 10, 2016
As presidential candidates stake out their 2016 election platforms and key priorities, growers and their business partners should seek opportunities Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Submits New Bio-Fungicide For E…
February 9, 2016
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI) today announced that it has submitted a new biological fungicide (MBI-110) to EPA. The broad spectrum Read More
Crop InputsWeed Expert: Adding A Second Herbicide Not Always Easy
February 9, 2016
In my last post, I reviewed some recent research that suggests one of the best ways to delay the evolution Read More
Crop InputsGenetic Literacy Project: Farmers Need More Herbicide C…
February 9, 2016
There are two things that I think just about every weed scientist can agree on, writes Andrew Kniss for The Read More
HerbicidesWeed Expert Warns North Dakota Growers Of Coming Herbic…
February 9, 2016
Ford Baldwin painted a bleak picture of weed control at a recent workshop here exploring the future of ag production, Read More
HerbicidesWSSA Announces New, Updated Free Web Resources
February 9, 2016
Today the Weed Science Society of American (WSSA) announced that new and updated educational materials for both weed scientists and Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesFour Arysta Fungicide Formulations Given FIFRA Approval…
February 8, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the issuance of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 2(ee) Recommendations for Read More
FungicidesAgri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus Receives EPA Registrat…
February 8, 2016
Vivid Life Sciences has announced the EPA registration of Agri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus, a highly concentrated active ingredient phosphite fungicide, Read More
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More
Crop InputsBayer To Contest EPA Flubendiamide Decision
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, announced today it has refused a request by EPA to voluntarily cancel the uses Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechNot So Fast: ChemChina Syngenta Takeover Could Draw Nat…
February 5, 2016
State-owned China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina), which plans to buy Swiss seeds and pesticide maker Syngenta, will promptly start preparations Read More
Rendering of Syngenta Seedcare Institute expansion
Seed/BiotechExpansion Of Syngenta’s North America Seedcare In…
February 4, 2016
As demand for seed treatment knowledge and products grows among farmers, retailers and others in the seed industry, Syngenta is Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Strengthens Sales Team
February 4, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced three new personnel additions: Jake Cook and Peter White are Territory Sales Managers for Read More
Davor Pisk Syngenta COO
Crop InputsSyngenta COO: Why ChemChina Offer Beat Monsanto’s
February 4, 2016
Syngenta Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk says he is confident the proposed acquisition by ChemChina will ultimately help preserve choice Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsKoch Biological Solutions Invests In Pathway Biologic
February 4, 2016
An affiliate of Koch Biological Solutions, LLC has acquired a minority equity position in, and entered into collaboration with, Pathway Read More