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

StewardshipReport: Precision Nutrient Management, Cover Crops Among Smart Practices In Fighting Climate Change
August 31, 2016
Agriculture can play a significant role in helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions according to a recent scientific report. Read More
ManagementAg Industry Shows and Rumors
August 18, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the upcoming trade show schedule, crop protection merger updates, and content for Read More
ManagementNews from InfoAg 2016 and Weed Wands
August 11, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj review what happened at last week’s big Precision Ag event and a possible solution Read More
Crop InputsFBN: We’re ‘Here To Stay’
August 11, 2016
PERSPECTIVE — If you’ve been following this site for a while you might remember a certain editorial we published on Read More
Trending Articles
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
Retail FacilitiesMarcus Construction Builds High-Speed Agronomy Center For Key Cooperative
July 7, 2016
Key Cooperative in Grinnell, IA, wanted a state-of-the-art Agronomy Center to better serve its customers. Marcus Construction delivered exactly that. Read More
Heritage Cooperative
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Designs State-Of-The-Art Facility For Heritage Cooperative
July 4, 2016
Heritage Cooperative in Marysville, OH, needed an efficient liquid, dry and grain facility to serve the many needs of their Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Latest News
StewardshipReport: Precision Nutrient Management, Cover Crops Amon…
August 31, 2016
Agriculture can play a significant role in helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions according to a recent scientific report. Read More
Growmark FS Outlet
CropLife 100GROWMARK To Build New Fertilizer Facility In Ayr, Ontar…
August 31, 2016
GROWMARK announced plans Wednesday to build a new state-of-the-art fertilizer facility in Ayr, Ontario. It will be managed by FS Read More
Soybean Field
FungicidesSyngenta Launches Interactive Tools For Vibrance Seed T…
August 30, 2016
As part of the ongoing commitment to provide growers and retailers with the most current crop protection products and agronomic Read More
EquipmentAGCO Celebrates Manufacturing In Minnesota
August 30, 2016
AGCO Corp. welcomed the I Make America campaign to its Jackson, MN, factory last Friday to celebrate the contributions of manufacturing Read More
MAGIE 2015 Overview
Eric SfiligojThe Read From MAGIE
August 29, 2016
As I write this column, I’ve just returned from the annual Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL. Being Read More
EquipmentAGCO Opens Nominations For 11th Annual Operator Of The …
August 29, 2016
AGCO Corp. is now accepting nominations for 2016 Operator of the Year, which recognizes hard-working applicators across the country. These Read More
CHS St. Paul, MN fertilizer terminal
CropLife 100CHS Completes $10 Million Renovation Of St. Paul Agrono…
August 29, 2016
CHS Inc., North America’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has completed a $10 million Read More
2016 ShowStopper | Case IH Patriot 4440 Sprayer
Equipment5 Show-stopping Products On Display At 2016 MAGIE
August 26, 2016
For 10 years now, visitors to the yearly Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) show have been tasked with voting for Read More
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer: Corn Belt P and K Levels Lagging
August 24, 2016
A new DuPont Pioneer study conducted across 12 Corn Belt states demonstrates that growers may be leaving profit potential in Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsCould a Monsanto-Bayer Union Be 2 Weeks from Fruition?
August 24, 2016
Via STLToday.com (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch): Merger talks between Monsanto Co. and Bayer AG are advancing after a series of Read More
EquipmentCase IH Debuts Nutri-Tiller 955 Strip-Till Applicator
August 24, 2016
With strip-till continuing to expand across new acres, Case IH designed the new Nutri-Tiller 955 strip-till applicator to help producers Read More
EquipmentCase Launches Aim Command FLEX, 25th Anniversary Patrio…
August 24, 2016
Case IH announces new AIM Command FLEX advanced spray technology for greater application accuracy, as well as special 25th Anniversary Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
PrecisionAg Video Conference
Precision AgVideo: PrecisionAg Vision Conference
August 22, 2016
A Strategic Conference Focused on the Future of Farm Digitization and Precision Agriculture Visit precisionagvision.com and register today! Read More
Young Corn Plants
Industry NewsOABA Welcomes Nicole Wallace As Communication & Adm…
August 22, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association has hired Nicole Wallace as its communication and administrative coordinator. Wallace will help provide comprehensive communication Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina, Syngenta Receive Clearance From CFIUS
August 22, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) and Syngenta have announced that the companies have received clearance on their proposed transaction from the Read More
ManagementAg Industry Shows and Rumors
August 18, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the upcoming trade show schedule, crop protection merger updates, and content for Read More
MAGIE 2015
EquipmentMAGIE Takes The Pulse Of The Ag Retail Industry
August 18, 2016
Every year, one of the major highlights of my career as an ag journalist is attending the Midwest AG Industries Read More