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

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