Year In Review: Great Adaptations

Did anyone really know what to expect going into the 2009 season? A global recession, bins filled with costly fertilizer, and a wet, cold spring didn’t bode well for a successful year — yet for the most part, retailers seem to have come through just fine.

Keeping an eye on the big picture, retailers also zeroed in on getting the most out of the day-to-day activities — “the small stuff.” Taking care of business meant adapting and adjusting as needed in the face of the various adversities of 2009.

And so did your grower-customers. Despite a growing season bookended by wet/cool weather bookends in many areas and drought in places like Texas, 2009 looks to be a record-setter. USDA based its projections of record soybean and near-record corn production on the warm, dry weather that blanketed most fields this summer.

It certainly wasn’t a season to sit idle, and dealerships and cooperatives seemed to step up their efforts to maintain and even improve the bottom line.

Let’s Make A Deal

A number of ag retailers made timely moves, choosing mergers and acquisitions to strengthen their position going forward, including:

  • The McGregor Co., a CropLife 100 retailer, purchased Ritzville Chemicals, Inc. of Ritzville, WA, furthering McGregor’s reach in the area and providing expanded services for Ritzville customers.
  • Olsen’s Mills Inc., a CropLife 100 retailer headquartered in Auroraville, WI, was sold to a group led by an Oshkosh, WI, businessman. The deal allows the dealership to continue service under different leadership.
  • Nichols Ag, an independent crop input retailer situated in Nichols, IA, was recently acquired by neighboring independent retailer O’Toole of Leets, IA.
  • CHS Inc. completed its acquisition of Winona River & Rail, Inc., a subsidiary of Rosen’s Diversified, Inc., Fairmont, MN, strengthening CHS’ Midwest and upper Mississippi River crop nutrients position through improved storage capacity and rail access.
  • Land O’Lakes, Inc. repositioned some of it Agriliance Retail South assets, divvying them up between buyers Winfield Solutions, Tennessee Farmers Cooperative, and CHS Inc.

… Or No Deal?

The deal that’s had the most attention was still up in the air at presstime, involving Agrium Inc., CF Industries, and Terra Industries Inc. Since February, the largest of the three fertilizer companies, Agrium, has bid to acquire CF Industries, which in turn has been making a strong play since January for a merger with the smaller Terra Industries.

According to CF Industries, Terra originally approached CF Industries several years before about combining Terra and CF. So, will they or won’t they get together — and which pair will it be? At presstime, Terra had refused CF’s offers time and again, and CF was resisting Agrium’s bids.

In late October, Agrium and Terra struck a tentative deal that will allow Terra to pay $250 million in cash for certain U.S. assets and a 50% stake in Agrium’s Carseland, Alberta, Canada facility — IF Agrium is successful in purchasing CF Industries.

On The Move

This year certainly didn’t lack in leadership changes and other personnel moves, either.

  • The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) selected Daren Coppock as its new president/CEO. He began transitioning from his position as CEO of the Naitonal Association of Wheat Growers and will be full-time at ARA by Jan. 1.
  • It seemed that no sooner had CropLife® included his promotion at Valent U.S.A. Corp. and Sumitomo Chemical Co. in last year’s wrapup than Trevor Thorley took his newest position as chief operating officer and executive vice president of AMVAC Chemical Corp.
  • Arysta LifeScience Corp. brought in long-time GE senior executive Wayne Hewett to serve in a new company position, chief operating officer (COO). Next spring Hewett will become president and CEO, while President and CEO Chris Richards will move to the full-time position of Board of Directors chairman, and current Board Chairman David Jones will become non-executive director.
  • Antonio Galindez, a 26-year company veteran, was promoted to president and CEO of Dow AgroSciences, replacing Jerome Peribere, who was appointed president and CEO of Dow’s Advanced Materials Division.
  • DuPont promoted James Borell to executive vice president of DuPont, responsible for the Pioneer Hi-Bred and Crop Protection businesses. The company also named Paul Schickler as president of Pioneer Hi-Bred and James Collins as president of Crop Protection.
  • Paul Rea was promoted to director, U.S. Crop Business by BASF Corp.
  • Over at Monsanto Co., Carl Casale, 25-year company veteran, was appointed chief financial officer following the retirement of Terry Crews.
  • Two CropLife 100 companies announced new leaders: J.R. Simplot named industry veteran Bill Whitacre as its CEO-elect, succeeding the retiring President and CEO Larry Hoblick; and Bill Streeter became president and CEO of MFA, Inc.
  • In the equipment sector, Deere & Co. elected 34-year company veteran Samuel R. Allen to president, chief operating officer, while DICKEY-john Corp. picked Harvey Baker, a 30-year industry veteran, as its chief operating officer.
  • Dr. Jay Akridge, a co-author of the annual Precision Ag Survey report in CropLife magazine, has been named Purdue University’s dean of agriculture.
  • Allan Noe, vice president of CropLife Foundation and director of Special Projects with CropLife America, retired after 17 years of service on July 31. He will reopen the consulting firm, Noe & Associates, which he previously operated in 1990-92.
  • Allen James, president of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment), officially announced his upcoming retirement, effective third quarter 2010.

Anniversaries, New Arrivals

Among those celebrating anniversaries and milestones in 2009 were several companies and products.

Highway Equipment Co. in Cedar Rapids, IA, manufacturer of New Leader ag spreaders and other equipment, celebrated its 70th anniversary. Also turning 70 was K-Mag fertilizer from The Mosaic Co.

Atrazine, one of the triazine family of herbicides available from many companies, including Syngenta, has been used worldwide to fight weeds in corn, grain sorghum, sugarcane, and other crops for 50 years.

Yargus Manufacturing Inc. celebrated the 40th anniversity of its Layco fertilizer handling equipment line.

On another front, 2009 heralded the advent of new forms of communication, including Twitter, text messaging, and CropLife magazine Webinars. The latest with Fuzion, LLC is available on-demand at www.croplife.com/webinars.

In Memoriam

The industry lost some influential leaders this year, including Jack Eberspacher, who as president and CEO led the charge to grow ARA’s membership and make ARA a force to be reckoned with on Capitol Hill; Mike Turner, executive director of the Wisconsin Crop Production Association; and Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, 95, known as the “father of the Green Revolution” and credited with saving more than 1 billion lives.

A Bit Rusty

The furor over Asian soybean rust has died down somewhat since it first appeared on continental U.S. soil in November 2004, so the 2009 numbers may be surprising. The first documentation of U.S. soybean rust for the 2009 growing season was in a sentinel plot at the R4 stage in Iberia Parish in Louisiana on June 6, which is earlier than usual in that area. It was the first time rust had been found in the state before growers had a chance to apply a preventive fungicide.

Beans were planted later across the country due to the wet spring, so there was some concern about a rust explosion. However, a primarly dry season helped keep rust at bay until most fields were past the R6 stage and yields were not affected. At presstime, soybean rust had been found in 16 states and more than 512 counties in the U.S. and in three states and six municipalities (counties) in Mexico, according to USDA’s Integrated Pest Management — Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (ipmPIPE), the official soybean rust Web site. On the same date in 2008, rust was found in 26 states and 349 counties in the U.S. (final total was 392 counties), and 10 municipalities in Mexico.

Leave a Reply

Management Stories

ManagementConsolidation Update
June 22, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss progress on manufacturer consolidation, and another big move for Midwest cooperative Central Valley Read More
ManagementPlotting Corn, AGCO/Asmark’s Applicator Training Center, and Bayer-Monsanto Sell-Off News
June 15, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about their recent visits to Columbus, OH, and Bloomington, IL, along with an Read More
ASMARK AGCO Applicator Training Center
EmployeesAsmark, AGCO Open Training Center for Beginning Applicators
June 13, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute have opened a new Applicator Training Center, created in a collaboration between the two Read More
CHS St. Paul, MN fertilizer terminal
LegislationICGA Praises President Trump’s Remarks on Waterways Infrastructure
June 12, 2017
Illinois Corn Growers Association President Justin Durdan, a farmer from Utica, issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s comments Read More
Trending Articles
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
Redbanded-stinkbug-on-soybean-Photo-credit-Thomas-County-Ag
Crop InputsExperts: Mild Winter, Early Planting Will Increase Soybean Insect Threat
June 12, 2017
Higher than average temperatures this past winter affected much of the nation, especially the South and Midwest. The National Centers Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto ‘Picks Its Battles’ by Nixing Deere Deal
May 23, 2017
Having been in the trade journalism game since the mid-1980s, I remember several watershed moments during my career. One of Read More
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Agriculture
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentSpray Application: A Nozzle Renaissance
May 2, 2017
If you had asked four-decade ag veteran Mark Bartel, President of Wilger Inc., just a few years ago what lay Read More
Latest News
Crop InputsArkansas Plant Board Votes to Ban Dicamba — Now W…
June 23, 2017
The Arkansas State Plant Board has voted to pass a proposed emergency rule to ban the use of in-crop dicamba, Read More
Engenia soybeans
Crop InputsBASF: ‘Closely Monitoring’ Dicamba Situatio…
June 22, 2017
BASF, whose Engenia herbicide is the target of more than 200 drift complaints in Arkansas, emailed the following statement to Read More
ManagementConsolidation Update
June 22, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss progress on manufacturer consolidation, and another big move for Midwest cooperative Central Valley Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
Crop InputsThreat of Dicamba Ban Looms in Arkansas
June 22, 2017
The Arkansas State Plant Board has rejected a proposed ban on the use of dicamba herbicide, but a procedural error Read More
Potash Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium-PotashCorp to become Nutrien upon Merger Complet…
June 21, 2017
Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. have announced today that once the anticipated merger transaction closes, the new Read More
Crop InputsMidwestern BioAg Hosts TerraNu Fertilizer Plant Opening…
June 20, 2017
Last Friday, Midwestern BioAg was joined by over 80 local farmers, media and staff to celebrate the grand opening of Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsAligned Ag Distributors Names New President
June 19, 2017
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC announced this morning the appointment of Mary Tolke to the position of President/CEO, effective July 1. Read More
ManagementPlotting Corn, AGCO/Asmark’s Applicator Training Center…
June 15, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about their recent visits to Columbus, OH, and Bloomington, IL, along with an Read More
Seed/BiotechDow AgroSciences Announces Launch of Enlist Corn for 20…
June 14, 2017
Enlist corn will be commercially available in the U.S. for the 2018 growing season. Dow AgroSciences announced the launch today Read More
ASMARK AGCO Applicator Training Center
EmployeesAsmark, AGCO Open Training Center for Beginning Applica…
June 13, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute have opened a new Applicator Training Center, created in a collaboration between the two Read More
Power to Do More Contest Winners
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Announces Three Winners in Power to Do…
June 13, 2017
Thousands of votes have been cast and three farmers have been awarded the power to do more with a $10,000 Read More
Frogeye leaf spot
FungicidesStrobilurin-resistant Frogeye Leaf Spot Threat Looms wi…
June 13, 2017
Heavy spring rainfall throughout the South and Midwest delayed planting and created the perfect environment for diseases like frogeye leaf Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
CHS St. Paul, MN fertilizer terminal
LegislationICGA Praises President Trump’s Remarks on Waterwa…
June 12, 2017
Illinois Corn Growers Association President Justin Durdan, a farmer from Utica, issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s comments Read More
Wheat Growers
UncategorizedWheat Growers Names Tracy Linbo as Senior Vice Presiden…
June 12, 2017
Wheat Growers has hired Tracy Linbo as Senior Vice President of Agronomy. Linbo joins Wheat Growers after having served 10 Read More
EquipmentAgTech Summit Aiming High for Modern Farming Solutions
June 12, 2017
THRIVE AgTech, in partnership with SVG Partners and Forbes, is hosting the third annual Forbes AgTech Summit June 28-29 in Read More
Central Valley Ag Randolph, NE
Precision AgLand O’Lakes Invests in EFC Systems
June 12, 2017
Land O’Lakes, Inc. has made a minority equity investment in EFC Systems, Inc., an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and precision Read More
BRANDT
Crop InputsBRANDT Products Approved for Use with New Cropping Syst…
June 12, 2017
BRANDT, a leading manufacturer of specialty products for the agriculture and turf markets, has announced that 11 BRANDT formulations have Read More