Spring Offers Opportunity For Ag Retailers

Well, it’s almost dead in the middle of February as I sit here on my couch at home, typing away on my laptop. My wife the freelance writer is cranking away on an assignment in the next room, the daughter’s at work and my son is fast asleep. And on the eve of the March issue print deadline, I’m sitting here in utter exhaustion.

This has easily been four of the most exhausting consecutive issues of the magazine we’ve pulled together, starting with the CropLife 100 in December and finishing with the FrontLine 5 issue you’re holding now. Eric Sfiligoj, Matt Hopkins, frequent contributor Lisa Heacox and I really poured everything we had into what we like to call the “Winter Series,” the most read issues of CropLife magazine each year.

We hope that there was at least one nugget of wisdom that we or one of our expert contributors shared that you found of interest or utility. No media company invests the kind of time, talent and energy to covering the distribution channel that we do, and will continue to do so for years to come.

I had asked a friend in the industry recently to tell me what he thought of our January issue, when we strongly encouraged retailers to take a longer view of the business and think about innovations that would better ensure the long term sustainability of their companies. We thought of a lot of different ways to present it, but we opted to put out a strong visual statement on the cover and warning that the good times could end at any moment. Be ready!

My friend said that while it hit the nail on the head, it perhaps came across as raining on the industry’s parade, and that suggesting dramatic change when times are good might have pushed the discussion past the comfort zone.

“Dramatic change in good times is seen as a real risk for most managers,” he noted. “Their peers are taking advantage of the good times to build what they believe is momentum and a war chest of resources.”

He concluded that if he had one suggestion for the issue, he would have considered changing the focus slightly from “The End is Near” and “Won’t Last Forever” to the positive of “Future Opportunity” generated as the result of changes designed/developed/implemented in the good times. 

“No one wants to hear that the good times are about to end, especially when the prior year was much better than any expected and 2012 has every indication of being equal to or better than 2011.” he asserted.

Looking back on it, I think he has a point. It’s human nature to push back when your perception is that someone wants you to act when there’s no immediately apparent need.

On the other hand, this is an industry we’ve all come to care deeply about. Between the four of us who do the lion’s share of the content generation for this brand, we’re approaching a half century’s worth of work and experience. We see many threats to your business out there despite the positive economic outlook, but they are threats that can be turned into opportunities to build long term sustainability for your operation.

Spring is almost upon us and you’ll soon be running full out to serve those growers. Get ‘er done, but always keep the long look in your sights.

Leave a Reply

Paul Schrimpf Stories

Paul SchrimpfWorking With Walmart
June 2, 2014
It's critical for agriculture to have seats at the table as the mega-retailer works out its definition of sustainability. Read More

Trending Articles

Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
The deadline to vote for the 2014 CropLife IRON Product of the Year is October 31. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More

Latest News

InsecticidesValent U.S.A., MGK Form Marketing Agreement
October 24, 2014
Valent has formed an agreement with Minneapolis-based MGK to manage the marketing and sales of MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products within the U.S. beginning April 1, 2015. Read More
StewardshipFlorida’s 4R Advocate Keeps Improving
October 24, 2014
Florida farmer Alan Jones uses the 4R principles of nutrient stewardship as the core of his fertility program, which allows him to maximize production and keep costs in check. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Named One Of The World’s Best Multinational …
October 23, 2014
Monsanto ranked No. 8 in the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence that identifies the top 25 best multinational companies in terms of workplace culture. Read More
Crop InputsArysta Hires Former Agri-Chem, CPS Employee For Delta S…
October 23, 2014
New Territory Sales Manager Mark Peel’s primary role will focus on working with growers regarding fungicides in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Appointments In Plant Food Division
October 22, 2014
GROWMARK, Inc. has announced the three key staff changes in its Plant Food Division. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Appoints New VP Of Finance And Risk Management
October 22, 2014
Wade Mittelstadt has been named GROWMARK Vice President, Financial and Risk Mangement, effective December 1, 2014. Read More
FungicidesEPA Approves BASF In-Furrow Corn Fungicide
October 22, 2014
Field trials show Xanthion In-furrow fungicide provides more rapid emergence, extended residual control and improved seedling health than untreated crops. Read More
EquipmentAgraScout App Available At No Cost To Universities
October 21, 2014
AgraScout, a fast and easy to use mobile crop scouting app, is now available at no cost to University students, Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Program To Provide Relief To Farmers Affe…
October 21, 2014
The USDA has implemented a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought. Read More
ManagementGreenfield Scholars Program Aims To Sustain Agronomy Wo…
October 21, 2014
The program encourages talented students to study agronomy, crop and soil sciences while cultivating networks to develop the necessary workforce to sustain the profession. Read More
Paul SchrimpfPrecision Ag: Taking It To The Hill
October 21, 2014
A new coalition took the good news message of precision agriculture to Washington, DC, last month. Read More
ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million In Small Business Research Gran…
October 21, 2014
The grants will provide high quality, advanced research and development that will lead to technological innovations and solutions for American agriculture. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Terminates Merger Discussions With Yara I…
October 21, 2014
CF Industries Holdings and Yara International have terminated their discussions regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Ranked A Top 10 Biotech Employer For Third tim…
October 20, 2014
Syngenta ranked in the top 10 among the world’s top biotech employers, according to an annual survey conducted by Science magazine. Read More
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Break Ground For New Facility At Kennebec
October 20, 2014
Wheat Growers has broke ground for a state-of-the-art shuttle loader grain handling, fertilizer and agronomy facility in Kennebec, SD. Read More
FertilizerVerdesian Life Sciences Signs Agreement With Los Alamos…
October 20, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences has signed a licensing agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop and market LANL’s latest nitrogen enhancement technology for plants. Read More
MicronutrientsStoller Group Announces Groundbreaking At New Office Bu…
October 20, 2014
Jerry Stoller, founder and president of Stoller Group, announced the groundbreaking at the site of the company’s future headquarters in Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Opens New Production Facility In Nevada
October 20, 2014
BioSafe Systems has completed construction of a state-of-art production facility in Sparks, NV, for its line of activated peroxygen products. Read More