Mid Year for the CropLife 100 – Minus Four and Counting
Every year in December, CropLife magazine compiles its annual list of the nation’s 100 top ag retailers. And for the past few years, we’ve also reached out to this group in the spring to gauge how the current growing year is coming along as part of our Mid-Year CropLife 100 report.
Now normally, all 100 members of the previous year’s CropLife 100 take part in this effort. In 2019, however, we’ve had four ag retailers exit the marketplace in one manner or another.
First up, there were a pair of mergers – which has not been uncommon since the 2014 growing season. At the end of 2018, No. 70 Northwest Ag Supply sold its single Iowa location to No. 3 GROWMARK. And in February, No. 42 Van Horn agreed to have its 10 locations purchased by No. 1 Nutrien Ag Solutions.
Then, two companies that operated as separate ag retailers but that had the same owner – No. 39 Tremont Group and No. 58 Lyman Group – decided to formally consolidate their operations under a new, single name. This happened on February 1 as Grow West was born.
“With a single unified brand, best-in-class people, comprehensive products, and vertically integrated services, we are better positioned than ever to offer more resources and opportunities for profitable growth,” said Grow West President and CEO Ernie Roncoroni, announcing the company’s formation in a press release. “Grow West symbolizes the very best of agriculture in the areas we serve.”
Mergers and consolidations taking place within the CropLife 100 is nothing new. In fact, an average of four companies have engaged in this kind of reshuffling within the listing since the 2010s began.
But what was new, however, is for a CropLife 100 ag retailer to just up and disappear. On April 17, CropLife received the following message from No. 84 Growers Fertilizer Corp., based in Lake Alfred, FL, with three locations and a member of the listing for the past 14 years:
“Please note that Growers Fertilizer Corp. has gone out of business. Thanks.”
Apparently, the company closed up shop sometime during March, perhaps in response to the ongoing citrus greening issue currently impacting much of the Florida agricultural marketplace combined with other factors.
For more information on just how the 2019 growing season is shaping up, look for an in-depth report in the June 2019 edition of CropLife (and online starting the beginning of the month). But it’s already been a pretty difficult year for many CropLife 100 retailers, and summer hasn’t even arrived yet!