Name That Tune

As I put this column together, I’ve just returned from the annual PACE Advisory Council meeting. For those who might be unfamiliar, the PACE Council consists of industry experts from across ag. Each year, this body gathers to discuss the year that was in ag and look forward to how the coming year just might play out.

During the course of a normal PACE meeting, one overall industry theme usually emerges. In many cases, these could be summed up using the titles of popular songs. In 2007, for instances, as commodity and input prices were booming thanks to biofuels interest, the industry was definitely singing “Happy Days Are Here Again!” During 2008, when market growth started out strong and came to a screeching halt once summer rolled around, the industry would have been humming the classic Chicago tune “Baby, What A Big Surprise.” For 2009, as inputs largely sat in ag retail and supplier ware­houses without buyers and credit lines dried up, the theme song was “Staying Alive.” In each of these cases, it was clear where the industry was and was going.

Which brings us to the 2010 PACE meeting. Going into the gathering, my pre-conceived notion was that the industry is having a healthy year. Based upon early returns in our magazine’s annual CropLife 100 retailers survey, crop input sales have rebounded, custom application work is improving and the majority of respondents seem to feel that 2011 will bring more of the same. Given this, I thought members of the PACE Council would say the industry is singing something akin to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” for the year.

And there was some happiness, to be sure. However, most PACE members remained very worried about certain industry trends. On the supplier side, one PACE member reported that his company is having its employees work extra time to keep up with increased product demand in an environment where just-in-time delivery has become the norm. This company and other key suppliers are apparently singing Billy Joel’s “Pressure.”

Others are concerned that an influx of Generation Y employees, with an average job lifespan of three or four years, won’t be able to make the connection with customers in such a short amount of time. Think Carrie Underwood’s “Temporary Home.”

Then there are those who believe the current economic good times in agriculture will once again “pop” under market pressures. Don Ho’s “Tiny Bubbles” comes to mind.

When I — looking for some consensus, asked PACE Council members when the industry would find a happy balance between good and bad, non-activity vs. hyper-activity — there was whole-hearted laughter. “Have we ever been at that place?” said one attendee. Guess that makes me like that Doobie Brothers song, “What A Fool Believes.”

In the end, the song that best describes 2010 could probably be The Beatles classic, “The Long And Winding Road.” Where it ultimately leads is still a matter for debate …

Leave a Reply

Latest News
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
MAGIE 2015 Overview
EquipmentPride In Professionalism On Display At MAGIE
August 18, 2016
The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) is proud to partner with CropLife IRON and continue the tradition of bringing Read More
SprayersJenner Ag To Debut 25th Anniversary Edition Case IH Pat…
August 18, 2016
Visitors at the 2016 Midwest Ag Industries Exhibition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL, will have a unique photo opportunity, as Jenner Read More
Crop InputsEU Glyphosate Controversy Heating Up Yet Again
August 17, 2016
The battle over glyphosate rages on in Europe, creating a lot of question marks over whether the herbicide will continue Read More
Industry NewsNew Partnership Provides Improved Representation At Ohi…
August 16, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) has retained Belinda Jones of Capitol Consulting Group, Inc. (CCG) for government relations work in Read More
Tissue testing
FertilizerMosaic: 6 Tips For Better Crop Nutrition In Corn
August 16, 2016
Late in the crop season is a good time to assess visual nutrient deficiencies and ensure early- and mid-season deficiencies Read More
WebinarsWebinar Schedule
August 14, 2016
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
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDowDuPont Update: EU Takes Closer Look at Merger
August 12, 2016
Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. face months of haggling with European Union antitrust regulators who opened an in-depth probe Read More