The Downside Of Caution

If you are an avid follower of the news like myself, you probably end up scratching your head in confusion on a daily basis. By all economic indicators, The Great Recession of 2008-09 has ended. The nation’s economic health is beginning to improve and production output for durable goods is making a comeback. However, when pollsters talk with the companies that are benefiting from these gains, most of them sound as if they refuse to believe things are on the way up. Most are avoiding spending money on things that could spur economic growth such as expansion and hiring. This is one of the major reasons why economists predict unemployment will remain a serious issue for three or four more years.

Now I’m all for caution. After all, it was what many analysts have termed “irrational exuberance” for spending and accumulating debt that led the nation down its current path. But at some point, you have to cease being a skeptic and begin seeing that better times are just ahead.

Thankfully, the ag retail industry seems to be avoiding this “irrational caution.” At the various winter trade shows in January, manufacturers and dealerships were not only positive on their outlooks for 2010, they seemed to be actively trying to encourage the market along. Many were investing in plant expansions or slowly adding workers in anticipation of economic improvement. Considering that many of these same companies were forced to take write-downs on unsold fertilizer inventory and watched grower-customer fall by almost half in 2009, this was impressive indeed.

As example of this trend in action, consider Crop Production Services (CPS). The nation’s largest ag retail just opened a brand new, state-of-art fertilizer facility in Marston, MO, in November. This location is capable of holding 51,000 tons of dry fertilizer and 18,000 tons of liquid, enabling it to service most of CPS’ outlets in Central Missouri and Northern Arkansas.

According to general manager Steve Martin, CPS spent approximately $15 million to construct this facility, which still came in under the budgeted amount. When I asked him if spending this much money to cater to a marketplace that had been relatively flat to down during the past two seasons was difficult, he said no.

“Fertilizer usage hasn’t really dropped that much here and this facility represents an investment in the future of our company,” said Martin, pointing to his map. However, he added: “But it is a good thing this facility was built when it was in mid-2009 and not the year before.”

Hopefully, this “things are improving” attitude will begin to spread out from ag retail to the rest of the country. After all the negative news we’re heard since the end of 2008, it would be nice to finally have some positive stories to tell . . .

Leave a Reply

Latest News
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojThe Precision Ag Revolution Continues
May 24, 2016
It’s funny how much “the first time” tends to mean to someone as they get older. I sometimes can’t recall Read More
Eric Wintemute, AMVAC
Precision AgAMVAC Ups The Ante With New Precision Ag Technology
May 24, 2016
A potentially industry-changing at-plant soil treatment system from American Vanguard Corp., or AMVAC, is coming soon to large growers in Read More
Dry and Liquid Plant
CropLife 100CropLife 100 Map
May 24, 2016
The new CropLife 100 map shows the locations of each of the headquarters of the 2015 CropLife 100 retailers. The interactive Read More
Southern States Cooperative
Corn Field
Industry NewsTiger-Sul Names Veteran Account Manager To Lead Central…
May 23, 2016
With the continuing growth of the sulphur bentonite and precision crop nutrient industry, global agriculture firm H.J. Baker has announced that Read More
Bayer sign
Industry NewsReuters: Bayer Defies Critics With $62 Billion Monsanto…
May 23, 2016
German drugs and crop chemicals group Bayer has offered to buy U.S. seeds company Monsanto for $62 billion in cash, Read More
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Industry NewsCompass Minerals Hires Industry Veteran To Lead Plant N…
May 19, 2016
Compass Minerals has hired plant nutrition industry veteran Vatren Jurin to steer the company’s portfolio expansion into specialty liquid micronutrient Read More
ASMARK Retailers LIVE! Tour 2016 Group shot The Andersons
CropLife 100The Andersons Rejects Unsolicited Proposal From HC2
May 19, 2016
The Andersons, Inc. has announced that its Board of Directors has rejected two non-binding, highly conditional, unsolicited proposals from HC2 Read More
glyphosate
Crop InputsWHO: Glyphosate ‘Unlikely’ To Cause Cancer
May 16, 2016
Via Reuters.com reporter Kate Kelland: The weed-killing pesticide glyphosate, made by Monsanto and widely used in agriculture and by gardeners, Read More
dicamba, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend
Crop InputsASA: No Dicamba On Roundup Ready 2 Xtend In 2016
May 16, 2016
While Roundup Ready 2 Xtend (RR2X) are tolerant to dicamba and glyphosate herbicides, no dicamba herbicides will be approved for Read More
CPP, glyphosate, dicamba, atrazine,
Crop InputsReport: Congress Pressing EPA On Glyphosate Review Hand…
May 16, 2016
Via Reuters.com reporter P.J. Huffstutter: U.S. lawmakers have asked EPA to explain why it published – and then withdrew – Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Crop InputsReport: Bayer Eyeing Monsanto For Possible Mega-Merger
May 16, 2016
Bayer AG is exploring a potential bid for U.S. competitor Monsanto Co. in a deal that would create the world’s Read More
ManagementAsmark Institute Tour Observations
May 12, 2016
Special Guest CropLife Field Editor Matthew Grassi discusses his week-long visit with 45 ag retailers as part of the Asmark Read More
MicronutrientsCompass Minerals Expands Trial Work For Wolf Trax Innov…
May 12, 2016
Fertilizer manufacturer Compass Minerals continues to expand the evaluation program for its Wolf Trax micronutrient fertilizer products, according to a Read More
Young Corn Closeup
Industry NewsArysta Adds To Marketing Team
May 12, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of David Davies to its marketing team. As marketing manager, Davies will Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Crop InputsSyngenta Launches New Biological Seed Treatment
May 12, 2016
Syngenta has announced the launch of the EPIVIO brand family, a range of new biostimulants which address abiotic stresses through seed Read More
Crop Inputs2013 West Texas Tragedy Ruled A ‘Criminal ActR…
May 11, 2016
A 2013 fertilizer plant blast in West, TX, that killed 15 people and injured 160 others was caused by a Read More