People Power

I’ve recently rediscovered the amazing power that comes from surrounding yourself with good people. It’s something we’ve addressed many times in this magazine, but when it actually pays off it becomes an “A-Ha!” moment.

Back in my days working at a magazine for the relatively immature landscaping and lawn care industry, one of the core issues we always tried to get at was, at what point is a business too large for one person to manage? Many of the business owners got into it for the love of the work, not the business, so when it came time to grow past the point of full control, a lot of them either sold out, gave up, or just decided to maintain the business at flat growth.

To get to the next level would take not only guts and a willingness to take a risk, but the right kinds of people with a passion for the business and a willingness to learn and take on more responsibility. The profiles we did of successful companies inevitably led to discussions of competent and reliable management in the middle ranks that allowed upper level management to look for new opportunities and guide the company at a higher level.

When I started here eight years ago, one of the key strategic decisions we made was to bring in more seasoned individuals with the right mix of skills and personality traits that could grow into more responsibility. Mainly because of this, I’ve recently been able to grow my job into editorial management of our cotton group. As we’ve been having transitional meetings and some of these key people have stepped up to take on new challenges, I daily feel the load on my shoulders lighten. It’s a tremendous, empowering feeling.

I know many successful retailers have had similar experiences with the benefit of good people, and Eric Sfiligoj and I got to see a number of them at the recent Agricultural Retailers Asso­ciation conference last month. Virtually all of the largest and most successful managers of retail organizations tell us it comes down to people, plain and simple.

The distribution channel is facing some significant challenges in the next couple of years, many of which are covered in this issue. The care of corn is certainly an opportunity to be exploited, but it will take a solid plan and good people to get it done. With consolidation at every level of agriculture, diminishing value in crop protection, and increasing nitrogen and fuel prices, we need to be efficient. Will your people be able to answer the call?

Most really good managers can get by on working harder and filling in the gaps where people and systems fail, but as Bill Keogh says in his story in this issue, working harder is not a business strategy. Getting the right people in the right roles in your company is a step in your business plan that you simply can’t afford not to take.

Finally, two closing notes. First, on the subject of people, I’m pleased to announce that Eric Sfiligoj has been promoted to Editor of CropLife® magazine, as well as sister publications CropLife IRON and the PrecisionAg print properties. Eric’s done an excellent job covering the distribution channel and representing the interests of retailers, and will bring strong leadership and knowledge to the position.
Lastly, all the best for a happy and prosperous new year! 

Leave a Reply

Paul Schrimpf Stories

OpinionTaming Data Overload
July 15, 2015
For the past couple of months, a significant chunk of my professsional efforts here have been dedicated to getting a Read More
Environmental Defense Fund logo
Paul SchrimpfEnvironmental Defense Fund: Appreciating Partners
May 19, 2015
I WAS deep in the throes of preparation for the Commodity Classic meeting that took place this past February, trying Read More
Paul SchrimpfWill The Merger Of Wheat Growers And North Central Farmers Elevator Be A Good Thing?
April 2, 2015
When crop prices started heading south last year, we knew the industry was headed for a dynamic season of consolidation Read More
Paul Schrimpf Group Editor
Paul SchrimpfBig Tech Takeaways
March 11, 2015
Farmers should not be allowed to point to a lack of obvious return-on-investment from data as a reason to not collect it. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases California-Based Specialty Crops Retailer
July 20, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has successfully acquired California-based NH3 Service Co.  Operating as part of Pinnacle’s Performance Agriculture brand, the new locations Read More
Asmus Farm Supply liquid fertilizer facility features 20,000 square feet
CropLife 100Slideshow: Asmus Farm Supply Shows Off Its New Liquid Fertilizer Facility
July 15, 2015
Asmus Farm Supply, Rake, IA, recently added a new liquid fertilizer facility to its company operations. The new liquid fertilizer Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Feed Division Facilities Receive Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification
July 13, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s Feed Division, a marketer and distributor of value-added feed ingredients for the aquaculture, livestock and pet food industries Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Expands To Brazil With Acquisition
July 8, 2015
BRANDT has acquired a majority interest in Target Brasil Fertilizantes Ltda. through its Brazilian subsidiary. Target Brasil manufactures, distributes and Read More
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Match Made In Deviation
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
Winter Wheat
CropLife 100South Dakota Co-op Member Owners Vote No On Unification
June 26, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have announced that member-owners have voted Read More
Latest News
StewardshipOhio Water Quality Project To Determine How Much Phosph…
July 27, 2015
Researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are looking for farmers in Read More
FertilizerKoch Agronomic Services Launches N-TEGRATION Technology
July 27, 2015
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC (KAS) has launched  N-TEGRATION Technology, a process technology platform designed to enable production of enhanced efficiency fertilizers at Read More
HerbicidesExpert: IARC Herbicide Classifications Leading To Confu…
July 24, 2015
Few people in the crop protection industry had heard of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) before this Read More
ManagementFCI Trade Summit Update & Precision Tank Turns 50
July 23, 2015
Editors Dave Frabotta and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the upcoming FCI Trade Summit in Las Vegas, NV, and how Precision Tank Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesUSDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait
July 23, 2015
The USDA today issued its decision deregulating Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the U.S. The USDA has now completed its Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Showcases Versatile Product Por…
July 23, 2015
Technology has revolutionized agriculture by bringing farmers, retailers and distributors to the forefront of the digital age. To meet the Read More
FertilizerWSJ: Cf Industries Exploring Merger With Dutch Chemical…
July 23, 2015
U.S. fertilizer maker CF Industries is in advanced merger talks with Amsterdam-listed chemical company OCI NV, the Wall Street Journal Read More
HerbicidesNufarm Releases New Panther SC Herbicide
July 23, 2015
Nufarm has announced the availability of new Panther SC herbicide. Panther SC is the first liquid formulation of flumioxazin available Read More
EquipmentFarmLink Launches Farm Equipment Sharing Program
July 23, 2015
FarmLink has introduced a new online farm equipment sharing community – MachineryLink Sharing – leveraging this new economy business model Read More
HerbicidesCould The South’s Most Troublesome Weed Represent A Thr…
July 22, 2015
Palmer amaranth is undoubtedly the most troublesome weed in the southern United States, taking a devastating toll on both cotton Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Hires New Director Of International Sales
July 22, 2015
Global Agriculture firm H.J. Baker announced today that Steve Langley has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division and Animal Health Read More
InsecticidesSyngenta Recommends Soybean Scouting To Prevent Economi…
July 22, 2015
Proper soybean insect pest control begins with scouting. As the warm weather continues, Syngenta encourages growers to implement a scouting Read More
Crop InputsH.J. Baker Launches Fall Sulphur Campaign
July 22, 2015
H.J. Baker has launched their “Keep Your Future Green – Use Tiger This Fall and Win Big” campaign. The campaign Read More
Central Valley Ag Randolph, NE
Retail FacilitiesStueve Construction Builds Fifth Facility For Central V…
July 21, 2015
Central Valley Ag partnered with Stueve Construction Co. to successfully design and build its Monroe, Oakland, Wakefield and Royal hub facilities Read More
FertilizerNew Research Could Lead To Less Reliance On Nitrogen, E…
July 21, 2015
Farmers often are required to apply nitrogen fertilizers to their crops to maintain quality and improve yields. Worldwide, farmers used Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Targets Farmers, AFBF In Syngenta Takeover
July 21, 2015
As Monsanto Co. struggles to convince rival Syngenta AG to discuss a potential merger, the seed and agrochemical giant is Read More
CHS Building exterior
Retail FacilitiesSackett Helps CHS Expand Blending Facility, Improve Acc…
July 21, 2015
CHS needed a blend plant that could vastly expand their capabilities in St. Charles, MN. The A.J. Sackett & Sons Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Adds To HR Team
July 21, 2015
H.J. Baker announced today that Barbara Sullivan has joined the company’s executive team as Vice President of Human Resources. Prior Read More