A Better Feeling

I have to admit – prior to attending this year’s Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) meeting, I was very pessimistic about the prospects for 2010. After all, the ag industry has just suffered through one of its worst financial years since the early 1980s, with grower-customer income falling to $54 billion and ag retail sales down to $18.9 billion (among the nation’s CropLife 100 operations). Given these facts, and feedback from retailers during our magazine’s annual PACE meeting in mid-October, I expected the mood among ARA attendees to be grim at best.

But I was wrong. Talking with ag retailers at ARA, I got some surprisingly positive remarks about how the industry should play out next year. As a result of the late harvest in many parts of the country, retailers think commodity prices will begin rebounding in early 2010, potentially putting more money back into their grower-customers’ pockets compared with fall 2009 predictions. Others are hopeful this will translate into more spring fertilizer application work once February and March 2010 roll around, helped by lower crop nutrient input prices. Even machine manufacturers, who have seen their backlog of orders cleared out and few new orders coming in, are anticipating a good year. “This lull has given us a chance to ship all the back orders and now we are gearing up for more reasonable delivery windows in 2010,” said one manufacturer.

This feeling was reinforced by participants in CropLife’s first ever State of the Industry roundtable, held on Tuesday, Dec. 1. An informal panel discussion among seven key retail representatives from all regions of the country, roundtable members agreed that 2009 would be best remembered as “being over” and were looking at 2010 to be a more normal year for ag retailers, akin to 2007 in profit and input activity. Rather than pulling in their resources and waiting for definite signs of a turnaround, most were moving ahead with aggressive programs to spur input and service growth.

“We plan to grow profits and retain our key stuff members in 2010,” said one panelist. “We as a company are investing the money needed to improve the quality of the information we can deliver to our grower-customers in the field,” said another.

Following all the negativity that dominated the industry during late 2008 and the whole of 2009, this feeling of hope is certainly a welcome change.

Leave a Reply

Latest News
Crop InputsWeed Expert: Adding A Second Herbicide Not Always Easy
February 9, 2016
In my last post, I reviewed some recent research that suggests one of the best ways to delay the evolution Read More
Crop InputsGenetic Literacy Project: Farmers Need More Herbicide C…
February 9, 2016
There are two things that I think just about every weed scientist can agree on, writes Andrew Kniss for The Read More
HerbicidesWeed Expert Warns North Dakota Growers Of Coming Herbic…
February 9, 2016
Ford Baldwin painted a bleak picture of weed control at a recent workshop here exploring the future of ag production, Read More
HerbicidesWSSA Announces New, Updated Free Web Resources
February 9, 2016
Today the Weed Science Society of American (WSSA) announced that new and updated educational materials for both weed scientists and Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesFour Arysta Fungicide Formulations Given FIFRA Approval…
February 8, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the issuance of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 2(ee) Recommendations for Read More
FungicidesAgri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus Receives EPA Registrat…
February 8, 2016
Vivid Life Sciences has announced the EPA registration of Agri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus, a highly concentrated active ingredient phosphite fungicide, Read More
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More
Crop InputsBayer To Contest EPA Flubendiamide Decision
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, announced today it has refused a request by EPA to voluntarily cancel the uses Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechNot So Fast: ChemChina Syngenta Takeover Could Draw Nat…
February 5, 2016
State-owned China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina), which plans to buy Swiss seeds and pesticide maker Syngenta, will promptly start preparations Read More
Rendering of Syngenta Seedcare Institute expansion
Seed/BiotechExpansion Of Syngenta’s North America Seedcare In…
February 4, 2016
As demand for seed treatment knowledge and products grows among farmers, retailers and others in the seed industry, Syngenta is Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Strengthens Sales Team
February 4, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced three new personnel additions: Jake Cook and Peter White are Territory Sales Managers for Read More
Davor Pisk Syngenta COO
Crop InputsSyngenta COO: Why ChemChina Offer Beat Monsanto’s
February 4, 2016
Syngenta Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk says he is confident the proposed acquisition by ChemChina will ultimately help preserve choice Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsKoch Biological Solutions Invests In Pathway Biologic
February 4, 2016
An affiliate of Koch Biological Solutions, LLC has acquired a minority equity position in, and entered into collaboration with, Pathway Read More
Crop InputsABG: China Signs Off On Monsanto’s Roundup Ready …
February 3, 2016
Monsanto Co. on Wednesday announced it plans to launch its Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans in time for the 2016 Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop Inputs6 Things To Know About The ChemChina-Syngenta Deal
February 3, 2016
After months of rumors and speculation, Syngenta has announced that ChemChina has offered to acquire the Swiss-based company. “In making Read More
FertilizerPhosphorus: Is Band Or Broadcast Application The Better…
February 3, 2016
Is band or broadcast application the better method when it comes to phosphorus? The answer to this question depends mostly Read More