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
ManagementThe Latest Dow-DuPont Rumor, Product of the Year Voting…
October 20, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj shares a new rumor about the Dow-DuPont merger and updates on two CropLife-driven programs, the CropLife Read More
Soybean Closeup
FungicidesFMC Begins Registration Process For New Fungicide Activ…
October 19, 2016
FMC Agricultural Solutions has begun the joint U.S. EPA and Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency registration process for bixafen, a new Read More
Soil Young Corn
Industry NewsAgribusiness Search Firm Appoints New Managing Partner
October 18, 2016
Morris Bixby Group, a leading agribusiness search firm providing the highest quality professional recruiting and career advancement services since 2000, Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
FertilizerUnited Suppliers Acquires Kansas Fertilizer Business
October 17, 2016
United Suppliers, Inc. has purchased the assets of Evans Enterprises, LLC, an ammonium chloride fertilizer business based in Olathe, KS. Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsFMC Launches New Operations In Argentina, Exits Joint V…
October 17, 2016
FMC Corp. has exited its joint venture with Ruralco Soluciones S.A. FMC has launched new commercial operations, FMC Quimica S.A., Read More
Dow AgroSciences
InsecticidesRenewed Registration Issued For Products Containing Sul…
October 17, 2016
On October 14, 2016, the U.S. EPA re-established the registration of products containing sulfoxaflor (Isoclast Active), including Transform WG, Closer Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Whys Of Agriculture
October 17, 2016
During 2016, there have been myriad challenges facing the whole agricultural industry. Such wide ranging issues as water protection, sustainable Read More
Young Corn Field
FertilizerImproved Phosphorus Management Essential To Feeding Wor…
October 14, 2016
With a global population expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, improved management of key essential nutrients such as Read More
ManagementHarvest and Crop Price Updates; EPA and Crop Protection…
October 13, 2016
Glyphosate and atrazine get public comment support from ARA as each is reviewed by EPA, and the latest on the Read More
Matt Hopkins15 Twitter Accounts Every Ag Professional Must Follow
October 13, 2016
What do singer Katy Perry and the President of the United States have in common? They are two of the Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Adds Two Key Account Managers
October 13, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of two key account managers: Doug Hoberty and Rob Wier. Hoberty and Read More
EquipmentDeere Announces Development Deal with Scherer Design
October 12, 2016
Deere & Co. announces a joint development agreement with Scherer Design Engineering, Inc. to develop and commercialize kernel processing solutions Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Celebrates 10 Years Of Innovati…
October 12, 2016
Richard Rominger, former Deputy Secretary of the USDA and former agricultural secretary of California, emceed a 10th anniversary luncheon celebration on Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Industry NewsVive Crop Protection Closes Financing To Support Corpor…
October 11, 2016
Vive Crop Protection has announced the closing of growth financing to support 2017 commercial expansion. The financing was led by Read More
SoftwareHD Precision Analytics Launches New Mobile App For Agri…
October 11, 2016
AGSentry from HD Precision Analytics is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that offers simple data service and actionable analytics tool. It focuses Read More
HerbicidesWeed Control And Soil Health Go Hand-in-Hand
October 10, 2016
Although many landowners may not give much thought to weed control as a soil health measure, Gared Shaffer, South Dakota Read More
Students Soybean Field
Eric Sfiligoj2016 Young Leaders Speak
October 10, 2016
One of the consistent cries in agriculture today is the need to try and connect with the younger generations, attempting Read More
ManagementVision Conference Preview, Monsanto Earnings, and Produ…
October 7, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the upcoming PrecisionAg Vision meeting in Arizona, Monsanto’s latest revenue numbers, and Read More