Rod Connor, AgGateway president and CEO, filed his report on AgGateway’s recent quarterly board of director’s meeting in St. Louis. He noted a special session was held to discuss how councils do their project planning and how they can better coordinate cross-council projects for the benefit of the full membership. 

Connor said the work that was done will have a positive impact on AgGateway’s councils in the near future. It was a presentation by W. David Downey, Ph.D., Purdue University, that influenced Conner’s report on how councils have to lead in changing agricultural business.

“Dr. Downey focused on three main points:  1) the ag marketplace is changing dramatically, 2) farms are consolidating and farm management, therefore, is evolving to a more industrial model, and 3) the implications for ag retailers and AgGateway are significant,” Conner noted in agreeing with Downey’s contention.

“The changing marketplace is a theme that we’ve been hearing for the past several years.  The industrialization of farming is also becoming more apparent every year.  As I listened to the presentation, I was struck by the potential for these changes to significantly alter how the current supply chain operates. To quote Dr. Downey, ‘Competition drives efficiency up and margins down…. The squeeze is on the distribution system.…’  Is that important to AgGateway members?  You bet!  Most of AgGateway’s standards and implementation guidelines were developed for the supply chain over the past 15 to 20 years.  Our accomplishments have helped members ‘do more with less’, ‘streamline the supply chain’, and all the other catchphrases that we’ve heard and used.   The changes that are underway in agriculture suggest an appropriate theme for AgGateway going forward ‘driving efficiencies in the new agriculture supply chain.

“Driving efficiencies in the evolving supply chain of the future means going beyond the traditional order-to-cash transactional standards and implementations AgGateway has focused on in the past.   We already see evidence that our focus is expanding with the establishment of the Ag Retail and Precision Agriculture Councils.  The Seed Council, through projects like GTTR (Germplasm, Treatment, and Trait Reporting), is working on making reporting easier and less complex for retailers.  The Crop Nutrition and Feed Councils are addressing the complexity of state tonnage and tonnage tax reporting, and the Precision Ag Council has several planned initiatives aimed at developing and utilizing standards that will allow industry partners to more rapidly develop and innovate around the precision agriculture and decision support systems concept.  I expect that this is only the beginning of many more initiatives to come in all of the councils” Conner further explained.

The AgGateway Mid-Year Committees, Councils and Project (CCP) Meeting is quickly approaching. It will be held June 14-16 in Plymouth (outside of Minneapolis), Minn., hosted by the Mosaic Company.

Besides committees, councils and project meetings two major speakers will be Mike Rahm, Ph.D., vice-president market analysis and strategic planning with Mosaic and Hank Roark, manager of architecture and development, Intelligent Solutions Group with John Deere.

The CCP meeting is being billed as a great opportunity for non-members/trading partners and members to see first hand the work AgGateway is doing to promote e-connectivity within the ag industry, the meeting announcement notes.  

The agenda for this Mid-Year CCP meeting is now available on AgGateway’s Web site.  Click Agenda for details. The Crowne Plaza’s discounted $89 hotel room rate ends May 23rd.

The Agricultural Retailers Association is a supporting member of AgGateway, and the most recent newsletter from AgGateway highlighted one of the most recent members to join the organization—Central Valley Ag cooperative of eastern Nebraska, which was the ARA Retailer of the Year for 2010.