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

StewardshipOhio Water Quality Project To Determine How Much Phosphorus Is Leaving Fields
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
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
ManagementUpdates On UAV Rules & Crop Conditions
July 16, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj provide updates on the ongoing UAV regulations debate and how the nation’s crops are Read More
StewardshipOhio Farmers Improving Water Quality Through Fertilizer Applicator Training
July 15, 2015
Since last fall, 6,586 growers and producers responsible for farming some 1 million acres of Buckeye State farmland have gone 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