Change In Good Times

I am writing this from Las Vegas and the AgGateway Annual Meeting and Conference, and recalling some of what Mike McCarty, president of Helena Chemical Co., talked about during his keynote address yesterday afternoon.

AgGateway, as I mentioned in my column last month, is a consortium of volunteers representing agriculture stakeholders who are working to create standards by which all ag companies can conduct commerce electronically. I’ve gotten involved in some of the committees myself both to learn more about its work, and to contribute whatever perspective I can to the cause.

McCarty was describing the early uncertainty and challenges that came with making the significant investment and commitment of time into building a platform for electronic commerce in advance of the Y2K scare. He talked about staying the course even when the actual cost of the investment blew by the original estimates, and the anxiety it created.

But understanding that an investment now would bring opportunities to serve growers better and be better partners with manufacturers in the future, the top-down commitment never wavered.

“Talk is easy,” he said. “We can sit in meetings and talk about what needs to be done, but we don’t really have that luxury. We need to make the investment and the commitment.”

On a much different scale, it got me to reflecting on our investment of time and resources on the new CropLife.com Website. If you haven’t gotten a chance to visit our site, I welcome you to take it for a spin and provide feedback.

When you go into a project like this, you know it’s going to present its challenges, but you also hope against hope that writing the initial check for the software and hardware and services you need is going to take you well down the road to success. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality.

The new site forced us to consider and reconsider everything about how we service you, the ag retailer, with information. To think about how what’s present on the Web affects what we put on the printed page, and what we share in our weekly enewsletters. We interviewed and surveyed the markets, tested and retested our ideas. You can’t write a check to get this kind of information — you just have to get your hands dirty and figure it out.

Technology is evolving quickly, and we all need to adapt to changing customer needs. I was talking to Jeremy Wilson of MyWay RTK during a break yesterday, and we were marveling at the number of iPads being used in the room vs. laptop computers. We estimated that it was 90-10 in favor of iPads. If the tablet is really the future, how should we be dealing with that trend?

It can be overwhelming, and in these high clover times in agriculture, it’s mighty tempting to just focus on the tasks at hand and keep moving forward. But I would argue that “high clover” times are precisely when you should be thinking about making changes to your business — if the market today hasn’t afforded you enough resources to start thinking about the longer term sustainability of your business, when will it?

As CHS President Carl Casale asserted in my interview with him this summer, making change in good times is extremely difficult. We’ll dive into this issue in January CropLife magazine.

Leave a Reply

Paul Schrimpf Stories

PA Innovation
OpinionWinter Of Learning In Precision Agriculture
March 1, 2017
Winter time is meeting time, and it usually means that I get the chance to not only attend some terrific Read More
Southern States grower in cab
OpinionPrecision Agriculture: A Place For Everyone At The Table
February 3, 2017
Over the last 30 days, I’ve been immersed in all things precision agriculture. If you received your personal copy of Read More
Co-Alliance employee
OpinionHelp (Still) Wanted In Ag Retail
December 21, 2016
What a year for the industry and for me! My home city of Cleveland, OH, ended its sports championship curse. Read More
Deere R4023 cab
Paul SchrimpfA Clearer Vision In Precision Ag
November 1, 2016
When our team conceived of the PrecisionAg Vision Conference more than a year ago, we had a few essential ideas about Read More
Trending Articles
AdjuvantsA New Weed-Control Era Begins: But First, One Last Obstacle
March 4, 2017
There is trepidation, there is reluctance, and there is excitement. Ag retailers feel it all about the new dicamba and Read More
LIFT Academy video screenshot
Crop InputsLIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson
March 1, 2017
West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Latest News
UncategorizedPrecision Ag, Iowa Water, and GM Corn Updates
March 24, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj look at the state of precision agriculture, the dismissal of the Des Moines Water Read More
Pam Marrone
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Enters Biostimulants Market Wit…
March 23, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. is expanding beyond biopesticides and crop protection and into the biostimulant market by commercially launching Haven Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teach…
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
ManagementThink You Know Water? Take WinField United’s R…
March 22, 2017
Water is among our most precious resources, and arguably the hardest working, with just one percent available for human use, Read More
Corn Field
LegislationTFI Hopes Court Dismissal Is ‘Final Chapter’…
March 20, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released the following statement from President, Chris Jahn on the March 17, 2017, federal court dismissal Read More
Wheat Growers
Industry NewsWheat Growers CEO Dale Locken To Retire
March 20, 2017
CEO Dale Locken has announced that he plans to retire from Wheat Growers. Locken has served almost 15 years as Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojBayer-Monsanto: Life, LibertyLink, And The Pursuit Of R…
March 20, 2017
As the calendar officially turns to spring, life is in full renewal mode. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and Read More
Corn Field
Crop InputsUltra Yield Micronutrients Acquires Kronos Micronutrien…
March 16, 2017
Ultra Yield Micronutrients, Inc. ”Ultra”, an affiliate of Cameron Chemicals, Inc., is pleased to announce that it has acquired the Read More
ManagementSnowstorms, Asset Sales, and Soybeans Prices
March 16, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the weather, precision ag, crop protection company mergers, and commodity prices in this Read More
Soybean Field
Seed/BiotechBayer Invests $8.1 million In Soybean Advancement In Th…
March 16, 2017
Growers in Illinois and across the Midwest now have the added benefit of a state-of-the-art soybean research facility, increasing accessibility Read More
CHS
CropLife 100CHS Acquires Western Co-op Transport Association
March 16, 2017
CHS Inc., North America’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has purchased Western Co-op Transport Read More
Young corn plants in soil
HerbicidesBest Management Practices To Control PPO-Resistant Weed…
March 14, 2017
Weeds resistant to the class of herbicides called protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) inhibitors are spreading at a faster rate than weed Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Eric SfiligojFungicide Resistance On The Horizon
March 13, 2017
For many years now, the agricultural market has struggled to keep ahead of an ever-growing number of herbicide-resistant weeds. According Read More
Management2017 Commodity Classic Review
March 10, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss what happened at the recent Commodity Classic in San Antonio. Read More
Farmer using AgriSync
ManagementMajor AgriSync Update Aims To Extend Ag Experts’ Power …
March 10, 2017
AgriSync announced a major update to its leading collaboration and service management tool for professional ag advisors and their farmer Read More
Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App
EquipmentNew Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App Alleviates Spraying …
March 10, 2017
There’s a new app to help farmers decide when to spray their fields. Pocket Spray Smart is a free iOS Read More
BPIA logo
Crop InputsBiological Products Trade Association Changes Name, Exp…
March 9, 2017
The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA), formerly the BioPesticide Industry Alliance, is the new name of the rapidly growing U.S.-based Read More
BBI MagnaSpread Salford BBI
Equipment14 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2017
March 9, 2017
Application equipment manufacturers stressed flexibility and accuracy with this year’s crop of fertilizer spreaders. From AGCO’s TerraGator TG9300B and Case IH’s 810 Read More