Wilbur-Ellis sees services as a growth-market
Wilbur-Ellis Company, has been distributing and marketing crop protection and specialty products for more than 90 years, but it has announced it will place an increasing emphasis in 2012 and beyond on professional services to help producers navigate a bewildering array of technological and regulatory developments.
“Advances in seed, biotechnology and plant protection have allowed producers to substantially boost crop yields in the last several decades. Satellite imagery, variable rate technology and handheld devices provide a level of knowledge and interactivity that growers a generation or two ago could hardly imagine,” said Dan Vradenburg, the president of the Agribusiness Division at Wilbur-Ellis. “At the same time, growers need to keep abreast of changes to safety and regulatory requirements, provide traceability and document production practices in an ever-expanding network of jurisdictions. Our goal is to help support them in these areas as well.”
To meet those needs, Wilbur-Ellis will continue to expand how it serves as an adviser and will help customers address challenges and learn about new trends and opportunities. With AgVerdict, its interactive field technology tool, the company will help growers effectively manage information while monitoring specific fields and crops and make strategic decisions with regard to planning and production. The company’s Project Symphony also has been initiated to bring together a total solutions approach to crop production, combining the very best seed, soil fertility and plant nutrition programs, crop protection treatments, water management and other technologies and services in an effort to dramatically increase yields and quality.
Regulatory monitoring will play a large part in the company’s services strategy. Laws regarding exports, pesticide use, ingredient sourcing, and worker safety vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and will continue to become more challenging as time goes on. Changes in consumer tastes and food perceptions will also likely lead parental groups and other advisory boards to adopt advisory standards that, while not legally binding, could alter patterns of consumption, notes Wilbur-Ellis and Vradenburg. With operations on multiple continents, including North America and across Asia-Pacific, Wilbur-Ellis sits in a unique position to understand the impact and momentum of these changes, it was further noted.
In 2011, Wilbur-Ellis acquired the assets of Agri-Services, an agronomy services specialist serving the Great Lakes region, and Smith Air LLC in Eastern Washington as part of its services expansion. Wilbur-Ellis, which celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2011, generated close to $2.8 billion in sales revenue by year-end.
More information is available at www.wilburellis.com