Editor’s Note: Each year for the past 38 years, CropLife magazine has gathered huge amounts of data to compile its annual CropLife 100 report. The bulk of this information will be presented throughout the month of December to our readers. There are, however, several findings that for one reason or another don’t make the final analysis. So, going into the 2021 report, we’ve decided to present some of these data sets as separate stories presented in our weekly enewsletter. With the table now set, this week’s menu includes some of the supply crunches ag retailers dealt with during 2021.
Every year, CropLife typically asks a few questions on its annual CropLife 100 survey pertaining to current events. For example, the 2020 survey featured a few questions on COVID-19 and its impact upon the marketplace. For this year’s survey, the topic du jour tied to supply chain disruptions instead.
Since the spring 2021 season began, many ag retailers have shared their difficulties with simply obtaining products for their grower-customers with CropLife. To appreciate just how bad things were, consider how respondents to this year’s survey answered the open-ended question on the form – “In one sentence, what one agriculture trend is causing you the most stress going into 2022?” According to 60% of respondents to the 2021 CropLife 100 survey, supply chain disruptions (and the subsequent cost increases associated with many of these hard-to-find items) was – and will remain – a major obstacle to the nation’s top ag retailers achieving profits during the 2022 growing season.
“One word sums up our biggest concern for the 2022 growing season, and that is supply,” wrote Kathleen Sims, President of Sims Fertilizer & Chemical, Osborne, KS, on her 2021 CropLife 100 survey. “Not only what we sell, but the inputs that are required to get the products to the growers.”
Adam Lovelace, Vice President of Farm Centers at The Andersons, Maumee, OH, agreed. “Potential supply chain disruptions continue to be a concern,” wrote Lovelace. “The aberrations in the supply chain in 2021 were management, just took a little more effort than in previous years. The current outlook for potential disruptions in 2022 appears to present a much more challenging environment.”
Drilling down a little deeper, the 2021 CropLife 100 survey did have one question specifically on the supply crunch itself, asking if the ag retailer had experienced these problems during the 2021 growing season. Incredibly, 95% of respondents indicated that they had these troubles this year, with another 3% saying they had some supply disruptions early on that were now easing some towards the end of the year. Only 2% of CropLife 100 ag retailers saw “no supply chain disruptions” during 2021.