Leaving Gaps

One of my favorite moments in the original Rocky movie is when the lead character provides his answer for dating his lady love, Adrian. “I have gaps, she has gaps,” says Rocky. “Together, we fill gaps.”

Strangely, I was reminded of this bit of life wisdom when remembering two old industry friends recently lost to illness — Jack Eberspacher and Mike Turner. For both men, filling the gaps that existed within their respective trade associations was their passion. And both excelled at this task, almost up until the day they left this life.

In Jack’s case, the gap he helped fill was at the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA). At the time, ARA was mainly a Midwest-centric association with its headquarters in St. Louis. When Jack first came to this group in 2001, he quickly realized the gap between the members and the decision-makers in Washington was too great. In short order, ARA relocated its operations to the nation’s capital.

“It’s important to have a predominant spokesperson here on the legislative issues to be the eyes and ears and feed information back to the states,” Jack told me in a mid-2001 interview.

In that same one-on-one, Jack also mentioned that he thought a gap existed between ARA and some of its members. He spent the next few years hard at work to bridge this divide, reinvigorating old members while finding new ones to join.

Mike Turner was a similar individual when it came to filling gaps. I first met Mike in 2005, when I was visiting an ag retailer in Wisconsin. He had recently joined the Wisconsin Crop Production Association (WCPA) and was trying desperately to fill the gap of the group’s narrow industry footprint, which was then primarily limited to the Badger State.

With Mike’s guidance, WCPA began filling in some of these gaps by using its annual trade show and meeting as the bridge, increasing the show’s national profile through articles in our magazine and better promotion within the industry. Quickly, companies outside of Wisconsin started exhibiting at the show and attendance began to climb — all the more impressive when you consider this show takes place in Madison, WI, in mid-January!

Put together, Jack/ARA and Mike/WCPA filled gaps for each other. There are probably very few observers who would argue that both associations have a much higher industry presence today than they did before each of these visionaries came abroad.

On a personal level, Jack and Mike both helped fill gaps in my market knowledge. They were also great industry friends. It will be awfully hard to fill some gaps without them.
Godspeed, my friends.

Caption1:
Eberspacher

Caption2:
Turner

Leave a Reply

Latest News
ManagementARA 2016 Report and Crop Mix for 2017
December 9, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the recent Agricultural Retailers Association meeting and the projected acreage mix for Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In …
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
Ryan Bartlett
Crop InputsCompass Minerals Appoints Vice President, Innovation An…
December 8, 2016
Ryan Bartlett, Ph.D., has joined Compass Minerals as vice president, innovation and product development. Dr. Bartlett will be responsible for Read More
HerbicidesHerbicides 2017: New Cropping Systems Set For Debut
December 7, 2016
Herbicide-resistant weed are inching ever-closer to a potentially frightening saturation point here in the U.S. Heading into 2016, USDA planting Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires Michigan Ag Retailer
December 7, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional Read More
Fertilizer storage The Andersons
CropLife 1002016 Fertilizer Report: Another Really Rough Year For A…
December 7, 2016
In many ways, the fertilizer category cannot seem to catch a break. During the early part of the 2010s decade, Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Winter wheat
HerbicidesTalinor Herbicide Approved For Wheat And Barley
December 7, 2016
Talinor herbicide from Syngenta has received federal registration from the U.S. EPA, giving wheat and barley growers a new option Read More
Forage Sorghum
UncategorizedMilestone Achievement Continues For Dow AgroSciences, A…
December 7, 2016
New and innovative forage products are on the horizon driven by continued collaboration between Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesNew WSSA Factsheet Explores Weed Seeds And Their Longev…
December 7, 2016
Did you know some weed seeds can lie dormant in the soil for more than a century and then sprout Read More
Crop InputsARA 2016: 5 Developments Worth Monitoring Into 2017
December 6, 2016
You can pretty much set your watch to it (do people even still wear watches? I know I do…but I’m Read More
Tim McCardle, ARA Chairman
CropLife 100BRANDT COO Named ARA Chairman
December 5, 2016
BRANDT EVP and Chief Operating Officer Tim McArdle has been named chairman of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) during a Read More
Crop InputsWilbur-Ellis Receives ResponsibleAg Certification At Mo…
December 5, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis Co., a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution of crop protection products, announces the ResponsibleAg certification Read More
Young Corn Closeup
Eric SfiligojThe Read On 2017 For Agricultural Fortunes Is Anybody’s…
December 5, 2016
As I (and others) have written in recent months, the nation has just experienced one of the most offbeat election Read More
Acceleron B-300 seed coating
Crop InputsThe BioAg Alliance Launches New Yield-Boosting Microbia…
December 5, 2016
As part of their commitment to develop and commercialize innovative microbial solutions for farmers through The BioAg Alliance, Monsanto Co. Read More
ManagementCorn and soy planting update; Takeaways from Climate Co…
December 2, 2016
AgriBusiness Global Editor Dave Frabotta Joins Paul Schrimpf for a discussion of global corn and soybean planting trends, and a Read More
Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Institute, Datu Research Receive Grant To E…
December 1, 2016
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) and Datu Research have announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify the Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More