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
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 100The Andersons Starts Venture Capital Subsidiary
January 26, 2015
The Andersons has established Maumee Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary designed to foster promising innovations that strategically align with the company’s core businesses. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Partners With Northern Partners Coop On Fertilizer Warehouse
January 21, 2015
In addition, the two companies will form a joint venture to build and operate a grain barge loading facility that will handle corn, soybeans and wheat for export through the CHS terminal at Myrtle Grove, LA. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Move To Colorado Complete
January 20, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co. announces the opening of its new Agribusiness Division location in the Denver, CO, Metro Area. The new facility will host key personnel as the company shifts the base of its Agribusiness operations from California to Colorado. Read More
CropLife 100United Suppliers, McGregor Co., Five Others To Form Aligned Ag Distributors
January 20, 2015
These companies will continue to operate as independently owned and operated businesses, however, their crop protection divisions will now be formally aligned under the umbrella of Aligned Ag Distributors. Read More
CropLife 100Bozeman Named SEEDWAY Chief Operating Officer
January 16, 2015
He succeeds Donald Wertman, who will retire at the end of August 2015 after 40 years with the GROWMARK subsidiary. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis’ Craig Bair Honored For Safety Contributions To Ag Aviation
January 14, 2015
The William O. Marsh Safety Award recognizes significant achievements in safety, safety education or an outstanding operational safety program. Read More
Latest News
ManagementOABA Conference Set To Highlight Trends, Technology And…
January 29, 2015
The third annual Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) Industry Conference is set to take place February 4-5. Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute President Jahn Testifies Befor…
January 28, 2015
The committee hearing, "Freight Rail Transportation: Enhancing Safety, Efficiency, and Commerce," looked at challenges facing our nation's freight rail network created by higher demand, rules and regulations and infrastructure needs. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue University Acquires Technology For Herbicide Mol…
January 28, 2015
Protea's LAESI DP-1000 Instrument System will be used in Purdue's College of Agriculture, the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, for the molecular imaging of herbicide active ingredients and other related compounds to optimize herbicide applications and improve weed management.  Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Hires New Crop Peformance Marketing Manager
January 27, 2015
As Marketing Manager for the Crop Performance division, Usman Khalid will work out of H.J. Baker’s global headquarters in Westport, CT, and will drive new initiatives for the division. Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Starts Venture Capital Subsidiary
January 26, 2015
The Andersons has established Maumee Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary designed to foster promising innovations that strategically align with the company’s core businesses. Read More
Exclusive state-of-the art Stueve Construction designed “Vista View” Elevated Control Room.
Eric Sfiligoj2015 Agricultural Market Read: Mixed
January 26, 2015
The agricultural market could look radically different this year, profit-wise, depending upon which segment you do business in. Read More
Edward Chell Biosafe
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Names Ed Chell California Territory Man…
January 26, 2015
BioSafe Systems has announced the recent addition of Ed Chell as California Territory Manager for the agrichemical division, supporting the crop protection, water treatment and food safety business segments. Read More
InsecticidesBayer CropScience Introduces Sivanto Insecticide
January 26, 2015
Sivanto precisely targets key damaging pests at multiple insect life stages to prevent damage to plants and help minimize the spread of diseases from insect carriers. Read More
ManagementRetail Collaboration, Communicating Agriculture’s Good …
January 23, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the recent creation of Aligned Ag Distributors, and the US Farmers and Ranchers Read More
FertilizerOSU Expert: Toledo Water Crisis A Turning Point For Ohi…
January 23, 2015
The August 2014 water crisis in Toledo, OH, impacted Ohioans’ views of Lake Erie algae problems by increasing the attribution of blame of algae growth on agriculture. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Launching TIGER XP
January 22, 2015
Tiger-Sul introduces this next generation sulphur-bentonite product with a proprietary activator – ensuring farmers have a well-balanced nutrient replacement program. Read More
Crop InputsH.J. Baker Expands China Sales Force
January 21, 2015
Global Agricultural firm H.J. Baker announced that sales veteran Shi Dongshen has joined their Shanghai office in China. This newest hire follows the recent opening of their Lianyungang Sulphur Bentonite Plant. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Partners With Northern Partners Coop On Fertilizer …
January 21, 2015
In addition, the two companies will form a joint venture to build and operate a grain barge loading facility that will handle corn, soybeans and wheat for export through the CHS terminal at Myrtle Grove, LA. Read More
Matt Hopkins5 Bold Predictions For Ag Retail In 2015
January 21, 2015
This past year was filled with ups and downs for the nation’s top ag retailers, but what will 2015 have in store? Read More
SoftwareDeere Launches App Center
January 20, 2015
The John Deere App Center provides users the ability to search and find apps most useful to their business or operations. Read More
Crop InputsNew Syngenta Herbicide Approved In Soybeans, Sunflowers
January 20, 2015
Syngenta will sell BroadAxe XC herbicide in 2015 for use on soybeans, sunflowers and dry peas Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Move To Colorado Complete
January 20, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co. announces the opening of its new Agribusiness Division location in the Denver, CO, Metro Area. The new facility will host key personnel as the company shifts the base of its Agribusiness operations from California to Colorado. Read More
Crop InputsNovozymes Sales Figures Up For 2014
January 20, 2015
Novozymes announces its sales growth in 2014 was in line with expectations as sales grew by 7% compared with 2013. Read More