Year In Review: Stormy Yet Solid Season

The 2008 season will be remembered for the mix of clouds on its horizon — floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and even drought, and at the end, a volatile economy. With all that, how did agricultural retailers fare?

The answer might surprise those outside the industry, but a quick look at the 2008 season shows that ethanol and economics, inputs and replants, biotech and plant health, and legislation and technology combined for a successful year for many retailers. (More year-end reviews can be found in the CropLife 100 report and CropLife Technology section.)

Weather Front, Center

Experts predicted that the rising cost of fertilizer and other inputs, combined with the anticipation of higher soybean prices, would lower corn planting — and they were right. According to USDA, growers planted 96 million acres of corn in 2007, the second highest acreage on record. This year, that figure was around 86 million, still one of the highest corn plantings on record — a good sign for fertilizer dealers, especially in nitrogen sales.

More unexpected was the disruptive stamp Mother Nature put on this season. First, the March floods in the Midwest not only wiped out freshly planted seedlings, but prevented growers in the eastern Corn Belt from even getting much corn or soybean seed into the ground anywhere near on time. USDA’s April 14 crop progress report reported only 2% of corn in the ground, a far cry from last year’s early planting.

In May, tornadoes ripped through the South, followed by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, which moved northward as far as Canada, leaving in their wakes acres of fields requiring replanting or drying out.

Protective Measures

All that wet weather and delayed planting gave pests a great foothold in fields, and many growers opted to use preventive fungicides again this year. Like they did in 2007, aerial applicators stayed busy.

On the flip side, glyphosate resistance continued to be a concern; glyphosate-resistant johnsongrass was confirmed in March in Arkansas and Mississippi. CropLife® magazine went on the road — with support from Monsanto Co. — to bring Extension specialists, retailers, and growers together to share strategies for identifying and controlling weeds.

Monsanto, in response to increased demand, announced it would expand its Roundup herbicide production by 20% at its Luling, LA, glyphosate manufacturing facility. U.S. growers will be given priority for the additional product.

Let’s Make A Deal

The much-anticipated Farm Bill finally passed — but a clerical error that omitted a section of the bill forced Congress to pass the bill a second time. After President George W. Bush vetoed it again, both houses of Congress overrode the veto.
There were plenty of other deals, too, especially within the CropLife 100 sector.

  • Even though Agrium’s purchase of United Agri Products (UAP) began at the end of 2007, it wasn’t finalized until mid-year. Valued at approximately $2.65 billion, the deal creates a giant with ag retail sales of more than $5 billion and more than 800 outlets.
  • Lange-Stegmann opened a new super-facility in St. Louis, MO, that handles unit trains of up to 110 cars.
  • Family business Jimmy Sanders was sold to New York, NY, firm JSI Parent, Inc. late this year. JSI Parent is an investment company led by two former Royster-Clark executives, Francis P. Jenkins, Jr. and G. Kenneth Moshenek.
  • Wilbur-Ellis Co. purchased Ripon Farm Service, LLC in mid-November.

Happy Anniversaries

Two strongholds serving the crop protection industry celebrated significant anniversaries. CropLife America turned 75, while the Mid America CropLife Association honored its golden year of 50.

On The Move

During 2008, key personnel and company changes in the industry included:

  • Andy Lee was chosen as CEO of Sipcam Agro USA, Inc, and ADVAN, LLC, now a subsidiary of Sipcam Agro.
  • Nevin McDougall was appointed vice president, U.S. Business Operations, Crop Protection Division of BASF.
  • Martin Petersen was named president and CEO of Cheminova, Inc., and serves as president of the ANZAC region, which includes the U.S., New Zealand, Australia, and Canada.
  • Trevor Thorley, president and chief operating officer of Valent U.S.A, Corp., was promoted to the executive office for parent company Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. The first non-Japanese person in the position, he also added the role of general manager for Region Americas crop protection business in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America.
  • Dr. David Jones agreed to serve as non-executive chairman of Arysta LifeScience Corp., which was acquired by Industrial Equity Investments Ltd.
  • Ray O’Connor, president and CEO of Topcon Positioning Systems, was selected to be an executive officer of Topcon Corp., headquartered in Tokyo. He is the first person of non-Japanese descent and the youngest person to be named as a Topcon executive officer.
  • Edward Schafer, former North Dakota governor, became the new U.S. ag secretary, taking over for Chuck Conner, who served as acting ag secretary following the resignation of Mike Johanns. Johann’s bid to represent Nebraska in the U.S. Senate was successful.
  • CEO Peter Bromley retired from United Phosphorus, Inc. (UPI), although he will remain involved with UPI and its parent company, United Phosphorus Ltd., in a senior advisory role for a year.
  • James Fitzgerald became executive director of the Far West Agribusiness Association.
  • Key honors included:
  • Jim Jenkins of Syngenta received the Mid America CropLife Association’s (MACA) coveted Dean Roy Achievement Award.
  • Mark Riehl of Mycogen/Dow AgroSciences was honored as MACA’s Ambassador of the Year.
  • Mott Grain & Agronomy of Mott, ND, won the 2008 national Environmental Respect Award sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection and conducted by CropLife.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Year In Review: Stormy Yet Solid Season

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 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
corn field
CropLife 100The Andersons’ Humic DG Now Available In Canada
February 13, 2015
The Andersons, Inc. Turf & Specialty Group has announced its Humic DG product is now available to customers in the Canadian turf, agriculture and horticulture markets. Read More
Farmer on tablet
CropLife 100Southern States Co-op: An Inside Look At Our Aerial Imagery Program
February 8, 2015
Now is as good a time as any to explore the basics of what a retail aerial imagery program looks like today. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Inks Satellite Imagery Agreement
February 3, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Company has reached an agreement with Planet Labs to bring satellite imagery to the AgVerdict software platform. 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
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
Latest News
Luckey Farmers, Inc.’s Berkey Farm Center
Industry NewsLuckey Farmers’ Berkey Branch Certified In 4R Nut…
February 26, 2015
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced Luckey Farmers Inc.’s Berkey Farm Center in northwest Ohio has been added to its growing list of nutrient service providers to achieve certified status. Read More
Crop InputsWinField Unveiling NutriVision Technology, Ascend Dry F…
February 24, 2015
New for 2015 are NutriVision Technology, a unique tool for monitoring in-season plant nutrient availability, and Ascend WSG plant growth regulator, a new dry formulation of Ascend plant growth regulator. Read More
FertilizerNew Formulation Of NutriSphere-N Protects High Volume U…
February 24, 2015
Verdesian Life Sciences is launching NutriSphere-N HVTM, a new polymer formulation of the proven NutriSphere-N Nitrogen Fertilizer Manager that protects high-volume applications of UAN. Read More
EquipmentIowa Ag Secretary Northey Names Hagie Water Quality Lea…
February 24, 2015
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has named Hagie Mfg. as a recipient of the Secretary’s Water Quality Initiative (WQI) Leader Award. Read More
FungicidesEvito Fungicide Gives Canadian Wheat Growers New Diseas…
February 24, 2015
EVITO fungicide from Arysta LifeScience North America gives Canadian wheat and barley growers a new option for disease control. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Commodity Classic Turns 20
February 23, 2015
Two decades in, this annual gathering of all things agriculture has become a must-see event. Read More
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
ManagementCropLife Retail Week: On The Road Edition
February 20, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent trips to the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville and the Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes Acquires FLM+ Assets
February 19, 2015
FLM+ will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O'Lakes, Inc., and the company will retain its employee base after closing of the deal, which is scheduled for the second quarter of the year. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnited Suppliers, Stine Seed Form Marketing Alliance
February 19, 2015
The new alliance will greatly expand sales opportunities for Stine Seed with the United Supplier Seed Link Owners. Read More
Crop InputsVilsack To Deliver Commodity Classic Keynote Address
February 19, 2015
The secretary will deliver a keynote address to several thousand farmers and ag allies during the event's General Session, to be held Friday, February 27, in Phoenix, AZ. Read More
Crop InputsSoybean Storage Tips
February 19, 2015
On-farm storage of soybeans requires some special considerations compared to corn. Read More
Monsanto Sign
Crop InputsBioAg Alliance Delivers Promising Field Trial Results
February 19, 2015
In its first full year of field trials, the BioAg Alliance reported that the top 10 microbial strains tested in corn and soybeans showed very promising results. Read More
National Farm Machinery Show overview
EquipmentNational Farm Machinery Show Attendance Up By 16K
February 18, 2015
The 2015 event saw the second highest attendance total of all time as 310,589 attendees that included exhibitors and agribusiness professionals traveled to the Kentucky Exposition Center to participate in the nation’s largest indoor ag trade show. Read More
EquipmentHagie Captures Three 2015 AE50 Awards
February 18, 2015
Hagie Mfg.’s Cover Crop Interseeder (CCI), High Speed Toolbar (HsTB) and STS with Tracks were presented with 2015 AE50 outstanding innovations awards at the 2015 ASABE Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference in Louisville, KY. Read More
CPS Truck door
ManagementOhio AgriBusiness Association Announces New And Re-Elec…
February 17, 2015
Crop Production Services, The Andersons among agribusinesses represented on OABA's 2015 Board of Directors. Read More
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products Finalizes Arysta Acquisitio…
February 17, 2015
The closing of this acquisition marks Platform’s third acquisition within the agrochemicals operating segment following the acquisitions of the Agriphar Group and Chemtura AgroSolutions in 2014. Read More
National Farm Machinery Show 50th Anniversary
Eric SfiligojThe National Farm Machinery Show Turns 50
February 17, 2015
The largest indoor farm trade show continues to impress visitors after five decades. Read More