2010 PACE Annual Report

Retailers are Micro Efficient, Macro Inefficient

Agriculture is growing in complexity and risk at all levels in the supply chain, making it critical that the retailer understand the interface between all the things that drive the ag market today: International trade, global food demand, demand for inputs, the value of US currency and more. Retailers do a good job of managing their business down to the grower, but the small-medium sized retailer may become increasingly vulnerable as market drivers become more diffuse, more global and more volatile.

Fertilizer Market Volatility

With crop prices on the rise again and fertilizer scarce and growing more expensive, retailers are on the watch for a repeat, if milder, version of the fertilizer debacle of 2008. The reality is that there are no mechanisms for retailers to manage risk that today rests squarely on their shoulders. Manufacturers are working on the issue but no clear answer is seen in the near to medium term.

Commodity Bubble … Again

Lowered corn harvest estimates led to a jump in commodity prices, driven in part by Wall Street speculation that’s not based on solid ag market indicators. Which means, as fast as the market goes up, it could go down on perceived “bad news” through a Wall Street sell-off. If this comes to pass and two years out of three feature volatile market swings, agriculture can probably expect this to be the new normal.

Generational Turnover

Businesses are working hard to hire and train up the next generation of ag specialists with the quickly retiring boomer generation on the way out, and a changing new generation of employees coming in. There are fewer rural-originating young people from which to choose, and urban/suburban kids have in general not grown up understanding even the most basic concepts of farming.

Sustainability From Above

Food processors and consumer retailers want to be able to show evidence that their business practices are driving sustainability, and are/will be pushing harder on suppliers to comply with specific regimens that help them attain that goal. Potentially, their demands could supersede those of regulators.

Organic and Sustainability

Environmental activists are working hard to equate sustainable with organic, and the industry continues to push back. Following PACE, the “modern agriculture” contingent walked away from the Leonardo Academy, a group working on developing sustainability standards for ANSI certification, for building “organic” into its standards document.

Public View Of/Understanding of Modern Agriculture

The American public by and large neither understands nor respects the work of American farmers that use “modern” production agriculture methods. The danger is that policy that undermines modern ag is more likely to be tolerated by an indifferent or hostile public, leading to a diminishing of our ability to improve yields and produce more food.

Intertwined Regulations Still Tangled

EPA has not clarified jurisdictional issues that exist between FIFRA, ESA and CWA, which has made it extremely difficult for ag advocacy groups to work effectively on the industry’s behalf.

Nutrients In Watersheds

Nutrient intrusion in watersheds is becoming a higher visibility issue both in the Gulf of Mexico and inland lakes in the Midwest. At the state level some governments are talking about limiting nutrient rates in agriculture. Perception is increasing that voluntary efforts are not enough/not working.

Need For Precision Standards

The lack of precision data standards has been an issue for some time, but its identification as a major limiting factor in the wider use and adoption of precision technology has reached a crescendo.

Leave a Reply

Management Stories
ManagementMACA 2014: The State Of The Agricultural Industry, And Then Some
October 9, 2014
The trade association’s annual gathering featured speakers from across agriculture and beyond. Read More
StewardshipA Multi-Layered Approach To Water Quality
October 6, 2014
Illinois event highlights research and technology designed to better monitor and improve water quality — and the benefits of cooperative, coordinated effort. Read More
StewardshipMichigan Agriculture Leaders On Toledo Water Ban: We Want To Be Part Of The Conversation
August 8, 2014
Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie. Read More
ManagementRussia Bans U.S. And EU Ag Product Imports In Ukraine Sanctions Battle
August 7, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned the import of agricultural goods from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Acquires Missouri Refined Fuels Terminal
April 2, 2015
Bloomington, IL-based GROWMARK and Magellan Pipeline Co. have entered into an agreement in which GROWMARK will acquire the refined fuels Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires South Dakota Retailer
April 2, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s Agribusiness Division, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed Read More
CropLife 100The McGregor Co. Closes Smith-Kem Acquisition
April 2, 2015
The McGregor Co. — ranked No. 16 on the CropLife 100 list of largest U.S. ag retailers — has completed Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Latest News
FertilizerSimplot’s Gal-XeONE Technology Moves West
April 27, 2015
The J.R. Simplot Co. remains committed to creating customer value through technology. In 2013, Simplot purchased the Gal-XeONE controlled release Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Need To Defend Production Agriculture
April 27, 2015
Last week, I spent the better part of my time on the road visiting with ag retailers and market suppliers Read More
FertilizerStarter Fertilizers Show Value In Stressful Spring Cond…
April 27, 2015
From wet, cold conditions in the eastern Corn Belt to excessively dry, cool soils in the Plains states, spring field Read More
StewardshipTFI Announces Renewed Financial Commitment To Fertilize…
April 24, 2015
Today, The Fertilizer Institute’s (TFI) President Chris Jahn announced that TFI and over 100 partners will more than double existing Read More
Industry NewsMACA Names New Ambassador Coordinator
April 23, 2015
The Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) has named Michelle Kilper as its new Ambassador Coordinator. Michelle is a graduate of Read More
ManagementAg Retailer’s Role In Local Policy Making; Raising The …
April 23, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj review their recent travels, precision ag efforts in Washington, DC, and the role of Read More
TMX-2050 In-Cab Display Launch Run Screen
Precision AgIn-Cab Computing 2015: Connectivity, Compatibility Take…
April 23, 2015
In terms of in-cab computing solutions for the agriculture market, companies like Case IH, Topcon, Trimble, John Deere and Raven Read More
USDA
StewardshipUSDA Outlines Building Blocks For Climate Smart Agricul…
April 23, 2015
Today, the USDA has announced a comprehensive and detailed approach to support farmers, ranchers, and forest land owners in their Read More
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Welcomes New Territory Sales Manager
April 23, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of Kaitlyn Acaster to the Canadian sales team. Acaster will fill the Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Opens New Research Greenhouse
April 23, 2015
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI), a leading provider of bio-based pest management and plant health products for the agriculture, turf Read More
Crop InputsDuPont Acquires Taxon Biosciences
April 23, 2015
DuPont has agreed to acquire Taxon Biosciences, Inc., a leading microbiome discovery company. This acquisition will build on DuPont’s in-house capabilities Read More
Farmer on tablet
ManagementStudy: Consumers Don’t Care If U.S. Farmers Feed …
April 23, 2015
“We’re feeding the world” is a mantra often used by those involved in farming and food to build support for Read More
Industry NewsCorporate Responsibility Magazine Names Monsanto One Of…
April 22, 2015
Corporate Responsibility Magazine (CR Magazine) named Monsanto Co. to its 100 Best Corporate Citizens List for 2015. This is the Read More
FertilizerSpring Nitrogen Management: Form And Timing
April 22, 2015
Most corn producers have planned their spring nitrogen program for 2015, and many have already started to implement their program. Read More
FMC 3Rive 3D
Industry NewsFMC Corp. Completes Acquisition Of Cheminova
April 22, 2015
FMC Corp. has completed the closing of its acquisition of Cheminova A/S, a multinational crop protection company based in Denmark Read More
SoftwareSyngenta Expands AgriEdge Excelsior Nationwide For 2015
April 22, 2015
Growers across the country can now take the guesswork out of improving their farm’s production, land value, farm stewardship and Read More
Cornfield near Sioux City Iowa
HerbicidesU.S. Regulators May Start Testing Food For Glyphosate R…
April 21, 2015
U.S. regulators may start testing food products for residues of the world’s most widely used herbicide, EPA told Reuters’ Carey Read More
FungicidesBRANDT Adds Zonix Biofungicide To Portfolio
April 21, 2015
BRANDT has added Zonix biofungicide to its rapidly expanding line of organic and sustainable products. Zonix is a contact fungicide that Read More