A Moment, To Change

When future ag historians look back on the development of the biofuels movement, I’m certain they will conclude that 2006 was the beginning for what promises to become a much larger agricultural market shift — a Maxwell Moment, if you will.

What’s a Maxwell Moment, you ask? Allow me to explain.

By my definition, a Maxwell Moment is a watershed event in the history of anything — life, business, the world — when things cease being the way they were and start changing into something completely different. Some examples would include the birth of a child, when a company passes the million-dollar sales mark, or the day the U.S. population passed 300 million.

The name comes from my own personal experience with such an event and its cause — a man named Robert Maxwell. After college, I started working at a large corporation — the kind of place you could work at forever given its business scope. Then, a few months into my job, I saw a news report that Maxwell had begun a hostile takeover bid for my employer. To make a long story short, my company successfully fought off the takeover, but not before going so far into debt to do so that hundreds of employees (including myself) lost their jobs. The moment Maxwell began his takeover, my life started down a completely different path.

Ag retail has had its share of Max­well Moments in the past decade — the planting of the first biotech seed, the day GPS became available to the public, glyphosate coming off-patent. From the looks of it, the trend toward bio­fuels has all the earmarks of another one. For one thing, it has become a hot topic very quickly. Checking back through CropLife’s January Outlook 2006 issue, I found no mention of biofuels as a trend to watch. During the past few months, however, you would be hard-pressed not to find dozens of seminars, industry conferences, and special magazine editions focusing in-depth on the topic (including the issue you hold in your hands).

The other reason biofuels appear to have a Maxwell Moment feel about them is how different they could eventually make U.S. agriculture. As ethanol and biodiesel plants spring up across the country, demand for the corn and soybeans to supply them is expected to increase grain prices. According to a 2001 study by USDA’s Office of Energy Policy and New Uses in conjunction with Economic Research Services, an average annual increase of the equivalent of 200 million gallons of biodiesel demand could boost total cash crop receipts by $5.2 billion cumulatively by the end of this decade. This would result in an average net grower income increase of $300 million per year. This undoubtedly will mean more money being spent on such retailer-provided items as fertilizer, biotech seed, and precision services to help growers boost yields and their profits.

The message from all this is clear — retailers should begin preparing today for the potential profits biofuels will bring tomorrow. Your company’s Maxwell Moment is probably coming — more corn acreage, higher demand for certain biotech seeds, or something else tied to biofuels growth.

No matter what the cause, the one thing I’ve found about a Maxwell Mo­ment that remains the same — regardless of situation — is it irreversibly changes things. Are you ready?

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

FertilizerCF Industries Terminates Merger Discussions With Yara International
October 21, 2014
CF Industries Holdings and Yara International have terminated their discussions regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
StewardshipThree Ohio Ag Retailers Honored With 4R Certification
October 13, 2014
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced its first three agriculture nutrient service providers to achieve certified status. Read More
FertilizerJ. R. Simplot To Build New Ammonia Plant In Rock Springs, WY
October 7, 2014
The new plant will supply both the Rock Springs, WY, and Pocatello, ID, phosphate fertilizer production locations while having the capacity to meet the company’s next phase of anticipated phosphate expansion plans at Rock Springs. Read More
CropLife 100Hintzsche Fertilizer To Sell Business To Helena
October 2, 2014
Hintzsche Fertilizer of Maple Park, IL, has agreed to sell its business to Helena Chemical Co., Collierville, TN, according to a report on ElburnHerald.com. Read More

Trending Articles

Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
The deadline to vote for the 2014 CropLife IRON Product of the Year is October 31. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More

Latest News

ManagementGreenfield Scholars Program Aims To Sustain Agronomy Wo…
October 21, 2014
The program encourages talented students to study agronomy, crop and soil sciences while cultivating networks to develop the necessary workforce to sustain the profession. Read More
Paul SchrimpfPrecision Ag: Taking It To The Hill
October 21, 2014
A new coalition took the good news message of precision agriculture to Washington, DC, last month. Read More
ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million In Small Business Research Gran…
October 21, 2014
The grants will provide high quality, advanced research and development that will lead to technological innovations and solutions for American agriculture. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Terminates Merger Discussions With Yara I…
October 21, 2014
CF Industries Holdings and Yara International have terminated their discussions regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Ranked A Top 10 Biotech Employer For Third tim…
October 20, 2014
Syngenta ranked in the top 10 among the world’s top biotech employers, according to an annual survey conducted by Science magazine. Read More
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Break Ground For New Facility At Kennebec
October 20, 2014
Wheat Growers has broke ground for a state-of-the-art shuttle loader grain handling, fertilizer and agronomy facility in Kennebec, SD. Read More
FertilizerVerdesian Life Sciences Signs Agreement With Los Alamos…
October 20, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences has signed a licensing agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop and market LANL’s latest nitrogen enhancement technology for plants. Read More
MicronutrientsStoller Group Announces Groundbreaking At New Office Bu…
October 20, 2014
Jerry Stoller, founder and president of Stoller Group, announced the groundbreaking at the site of the company’s future headquarters in Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Opens New Production Facility In Nevada
October 20, 2014
BioSafe Systems has completed construction of a state-of-art production facility in Sparks, NV, for its line of activated peroxygen products. Read More
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScien…
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechEPA Approves Dow’s Enlist Duo Herbicide
October 15, 2014
The Enlist Weed Control System, breakthrough technology to fight resistant and tough weeds, has received the long-awaited green light from federal regulatory authorities. Read More
MicronutrientsGypsum On Farms Could Help Keep Water Clean, Not Green
October 14, 2014
Gypsum, which has roots in the past as a farm soil treatment, also may have a bright future, and not just as a booster of crops but also as a protector of water. Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Crop InputsVerdesian Grows Sales Staff
October 14, 2014
The new account managers will drive sales growth and support relationships with key customers in the plant nutrition and seed treatment and inoculants product categories. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
October 14, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Purchases Six Grain Elevators, Four Agron…
October 14, 2014
The Andersons has acquired Auburn Bean and Grain of Auburn, MI, which will increase the storage capacity of its Grain Group by about 13%. Read More
StewardshipThree Ohio Ag Retailers Honored With 4R Certification
October 13, 2014
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced its first three agriculture nutrient service providers to achieve certified status. Read More
Eric SfiligojEntering Agriculture’s New Phase
October 13, 2014
The market’s giddy ride the past few years might be coming to an end in 2015, warns one industry insider. Read More
Eric SfiligojWar And Green Peace
October 11, 2014
A one-time member of Green Peace recently explained why he left the organization after 15 years. Read More