Consolidation in ag retail tends to come in waves. Just when it appears to be receding, you can expect the mergers and acquisitions to start rolling in again.
This year has been a fairly active one on the consolidation front, all things considered. Crop Production Services (CPS) acquired Ritter Crop Services in March. In April, United Cooperative finalized a merger with Cooperative Services, marking the third such partnership by the Beaver Dam, WI, co-op in three months. Wilbur-Ellis Co. purchased the assets of Mott Grain in Mott, ND, in October.
So where do these recent acquisitions rank in terms of biggest ag retail deals of the past 10 years? I attempted to answer this question with the aid of The Asmark Institute’s Consolidation Chart. The chart provides a historical look (with an assist from the CropLife 100 list) at acquisitions, joint ventures and mergers among the top 100 largest ag retailers from 1984 to 2011. Thus, here are the biggest acquisitions — based on number of retail outlets acquired — that have taken place since 2003. (Hint: Agrium appears on the list more than once.)