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
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 has announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify 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
ManagementAg Industry Comes Together To Address Climate Change
December 1, 2016
Addressing climate change — and more specifically, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture — can only be achieved through collective Read More
Young soybean field
HerbicidesLiquid Formulation Valor EZ Herbicide Available For 201…
December 1, 2016
Valent U.S.A. Corp. has released Valor EZ; a liquid formulation of the company’s leading herbicide, Valor. Named Valor EZ Herbicide Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
ManagementThe Value Of Cooperatives In Modern Agriculture
December 1, 2016
Editor’s Note: Jaxon Mullinnix of  Lone Tree, IA, was recently named the Iowa state winner of the 2017 GROWMARK essay Read More
AGCO Operator of the Year Tony Kornder
SprayersAGCO Names Tony Kornder Operator Of The Year
December 1, 2016
AGCO Corp. names Tony Kornder with Genesis Growing Solutions in Le Sueur, MN, the 11th annual Operator of the Year. Read More
Chris Henney OABA
ManagementOABA Industry Conference To Provide Outlook For Future …
November 29, 2016
The upcoming Ohio AgriBusiness Association Industry Conference is packed with widely-respected speakers and industry professionals, sharing their expertise on a Read More
Corn
InsecticidesMajor Review Finds Neonic Poses Low Risk To Aquatic Inv…
November 28, 2016
A major new ecotoxicological review and risk assessment has been published in the peer-reviewed literature and concluded that registered crop Read More
EquipmentGSI Details New Grain Drying Efficiency System for Coop…
November 28, 2016
Grain elevators and ag co-ops are always looking for ways to increase their energy efficiency to help improve profitability. For Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
AGCO AgControl system
Precision AgPrecision Ag Technology: Rate Control For The Times
November 28, 2016
It’s not surprising that the need for more economical, effective application is driving the demand for the latest rate controllers Read More
ARA
Eric SfiligojTaking The Industry’s Pulse At ARA
November 28, 2016
When most of you read this particular column, many of the industry’s key folks will probably be spending at least Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls …
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
FertilizerNutrient Management, Conservation Among Topics Covered …
November 23, 2016
Certified crop advisers, consultants, farmers, agribusiness professionals and students will learn more about nutrient management, soil and water conservation, pest Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsa…
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
Arysta LifeScience
Crop InputsArysta LifeScience Forms Alliance With Beem Biologics
November 21, 2016
As part of its recently announced strategy to become a leader in high-value, high-growth specialty market segments in the crop Read More
DuPont sign
Crop InputsDuPont To End Pension Contribution For Active Employees
November 18, 2016
DuPont will no longer contribute to active employees’ pension plans, a move that will affect the retirement of 13,000 workers, Read More