2012 PACE Report: 6 Key Issues To Watch For Ag Retail

Last fall in Chicago, 26 members of the PACE Advisory Council spent a full day discussing lessons and learnings from the past year, and considered prospects for the year ahead. Below are six key topics covered during the meeting:

1. Environmental Policy Challenges Looming. Diverse programs across states that are working on the issue of watershed improvement have the potential to place serious restrictions on agriculture if the industry is not involved on the local level. Unfortunately, there isn’t much consistency across these efforts. The Fertilizer Institute’s 4Rs program has created a dialog and is a part of the solution, but retailers must work with local watershed initiatives to ensure its voice is heard and considered. On the national front, at the time just one week ahead of the presidential election, concern was expressed about the potential for more pronounced regulatory overreaching by EPA in the wake of a second term for the Obama administration.

2. Weed Resistance ‘Opportunity.’ Manufacturers have responded in force to deliver solutions to mitigate the degradation of weed control programs in the form of new seed and herbicide products, as well as agronomic recommendations. The cost and complexity of weed control is a necessary evil for growers because the cost of yield loss with today’s crop prices makes it worth every penny. The opportunity for retailers is vast. In-depth knowledge of traits and seed, the handling, timing and application of herbicides, and agronomic expertise makes the weed resistance “challenge” a significant opportunity for the full-service retailer.

3. Changing Approaches To Grower Customers. Retailers continue to struggle to adequately service the needs of a diversifying grower customer base. Many farming operations — in general, ones that control more acreage — have needs that are less predictable and require a more individualized approach. Their service needs from the retailer’s standpoint are all over the spectrum, from “reliable supplier of products” to “risk management consultant” to the traditional full service agronomic adviser. Of concern are growers who take it several steps further, hiring in managers for business and agronomy, building storage infrastructure and handling more of the traditional retail services on their own. Growers who still look to retailers to provide value are generally looking for a more consultative relationship with a retailer — not “what can I sell you?” but “what problems can I help you solve?” Several PACE council members felt retailers in general may not be fully prepared with a properly trained and tasked sales force to handle the change.

4. Impending Retirements Present A Threat. Virtually every ag business is facing the specter of losing signifi cant corporate intelligence through the retirements of key personnel over the next three to fi ve years. On top of that, there’s a lack of graduates that are willing to take a job in agriculture, in particular retailing, largely because of the brutally harsh seasonal hours during peak times. Recruitment and retention programs and internships will play a role in minimizing the plight.

5. The “New Normal” Still Unknown. The 2012 season’s drought-stricken yield totals once again failed to adequately test the voracity of high commodity crop prices. To varying degrees, council members are concerned about the affect a bumper crop, or even simply a normal crop will have on commodity prices at the end of 2013. A big drop-off in price with staying power would signifi cantly impact 2014 crop plans. While no one expects a return to $2.50 corn, virtually everyone expects a reset from current high-fl ying price levels to a “new normal.”

6. Monsanto IFS Program On The Watch. Monsanto will pilot launch its Integrated Farming System (IFS) in 2013, a system by which it will provide growers with hybrid and plant population recommendations based on historic fi eld and yield data. Retailers who sell Monsanto seed and who are involved in the pilot have gone through extensive training and will be an integral part of the IFS program. There is concern in principle about a national supplier getting involved in localized agronomic recommendation, and also concern about retailers receiving fair compensation for their contribution to the IFS education and sales process. Retailers will be watching this pilot program very closely through the 2013 season.

Leave a Reply

Management Stories

ManagementBiotech Crops Developments and Millennials
April 28, 2016
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf talk about the latest activities in biotech crops and a major shift in the Read More
StewardshipNRCS To Help Farmers Measure Conservation Impacts On Water Quality
April 27, 2016
The USDA has announced the availability of $2 million to help farmers install edge-of-field stations that monitor water quality as Read More
Valley Irrigation Valley 8000 series on corn
EquipmentValley Irrigation Receives Environmental Stewardship Honor
April 26, 2016
Valley Irrigation has been recognized as a Groundwater Guardian Green Site by the Groundwater Foundation. The Groundwater Guardian Green Site Read More
ManagementIllinois Leads The Nation In 4R Certified Nutrient Management Specialists
April 22, 2016
As Illinois agriculture works to educate farmers about minimizing environmental impact and optimizing the use of ag nutrients, Illinois now leads Read More
Trending Articles
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More
Eric SfiligojBiotech Corn Drop More Economics Vs. Consumer Rejection
April 18, 2016
Since their introduction into the agricultural marketplace, biotech crops has steadily grown in acreage in the countries of the world Read More
Crop InputsBayer: 5 Reasons We Disagree With Maryland Neonic Ban
April 12, 2016
We’re disappointed that the Maryland legislature chose not to stand up for sound science and the rights of Maryland’s homeowners Read More
Corn
OpinionChallenging Global Economic Conditions Putting More Heat On U.S. Ag Retailers
April 7, 2016
There it is. That vague, slightly sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. Things are getting weird out there. Read More
ScoutPro iPad
Precision AgWhat’s Trending In Soil Testing And Scouting
April 6, 2016
Keeping up on soil testing and scouting, especially following unusual weather conditions, can play a role in maximizing yields. Soil Read More
Latest News
BAICOR
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Utah Specialty Fertilizer Company
April 28, 2016
BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of specialty ag products, has acquired a majority interest in BAICOR, L.C. BAICOR, Read More
Soybean field
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Adds Vice President Of Business…
April 28, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences has announced the addition of Marc Treurniet to the plant health and nutrition company’s management team. Treurniet Read More
ManagementBiotech Crops Developments and Millennials
April 28, 2016
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf talk about the latest activities in biotech crops and a major shift in the Read More
Industry NewsNachurs-Alpine, Pathway Biologic Extend Marketing Agree…
April 28, 2016
Nachurs-Alpine Solutions (Marion, OH) and Pathway Biologic (Plant City, FL) announce an extension to their exclusive marketing agreement specific to Read More
MicronutrientsCharah Add Three Warehouses For SUL4R-PLUS Fertilizer
April 28, 2016
Charah, Inc., a total solutions company providing unparalleled service and innovation for the coal-fired power generation industry, announced today that Read More
Spenser Forgey, Yahama Fortix
FungicidesIndiana Farmer Wins Arysta LifeScience FORTIX Fungicide…
April 28, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently presented Spenser Forgey, a grower from Young America, IN, with a new 2016 Yamaha Grizzly Read More
Corn Field
HerbicidesNew Wilbur‐Ellis Herbicide Targets Volunteer Corn
April 28, 2016
Wilbur‐Ellis Co., a recognized leader in marketing and distribution of crop protection products, as well as precision agriculture technology, has Read More
StewardshipNRCS To Help Farmers Measure Conservation Impacts On Wa…
April 27, 2016
The USDA has announced the availability of $2 million to help farmers install edge-of-field stations that monitor water quality as Read More
Planter in Iowa
EquipmentTop 10 Twitter Pics For #Plant16
April 27, 2016
Despite some wet weather in parts of the Midwest, growers and ag retailers are working feverishly to plant this year’s Read More
HerbicidesHELM AGRO Launches New HELM Sulfentrazone 4F Herbicide
April 26, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the federal Section 3 registration of its new HELM Sulfentrazone 4F herbicide. Classified as a Read More
Valley Irrigation Valley 8000 series on corn
EquipmentValley Irrigation Receives Environmental Stewardship Ho…
April 26, 2016
Valley Irrigation has been recognized as a Groundwater Guardian Green Site by the Groundwater Foundation. The Groundwater Guardian Green Site Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More
ManagementIllinois Leads The Nation In 4R Certified Nutrient Mana…
April 22, 2016
As Illinois agriculture works to educate farmers about minimizing environmental impact and optimizing the use of ag nutrients, Illinois now leads Read More
Social media
Matt Hopkins7 Social Media Trends Shaping Ag Retail In 2016
April 22, 2016
After writing my last column on why social media is a must for ag retailers, I heard from several readers Read More
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Adds Corey Abels To Midwest Sales Te…
April 22, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of Corey Abels as Territory Sales Manager for the Midwest region. In Read More
Soybean Field
HerbicidesHELM AGRO US Unveils New Sheridan 25 WG Herbicide
April 22, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the federal Section 3 registration of its new Sheridan 25 WG herbicide for selective Read More
ManagementCentennial’s Jim Fargo Talks Ag Retail
April 21, 2016
Special guest Jim Fargo discusses challenges facing this CropLife 100 retailer. Read More