Four months to plan for crop season? Try four days in many cases for farmers swept up during the climate chaos of 2019. As concerns over supply chains and efficacy of chemical products loom ever larger as U.S. farmers move toward 2020, Nufarm has answered the bell, with a brand new, state-of-the-art facility. The manufacturing site is an immediate supply boon to Southern farmers, but a rising tide lifts all boats: Midwest and Canadian growers also simultaneously benefit.
Nufarm’s relationship with U.S. ag retailers and farmers just got deeper with the grand opening of a $20 million, 104,500 square-foot formulation and packaging facility in Greenville, Miss., a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River, on Oct. 23. The 16-acre site in Washington County will provide a major boost to the speed and logistics of crop protection formulation and packaging operations, as well as significantly increasing Nufarm’s North American footprint.
Brendan Deck, Nufarm regional general manager, North America, emphasizes the boost in distribution reliability provided by the Greenville plant. “Farmers need product precisely when they need it, and they are continuously challenged because they can’t always plan in advance,” he says. “That’s part of the reason for this new plant: combat the logistics of moving product. When necessary, we’ve got to be able to meet a farmer’s needs 365 days a year.”
“No more waiting six weeks until a product is available in the next run,” Deck continues. “We can provide in small batches now—not just big batches. We’re giving our customers a combination of the latest product development along with a reliable supply. The Greenville plant also means the efficiency of our production in Chicago goes up and increases service to the Midwest and Canada. It’s more opportunity for everyone involved with Nufarm.”
Brad Hyman, vice president of crop protection sales, echoes Deck’s perspective. “The increase in speed of production and delivery is going to be dramatic,” describes Hyman. “This plant is about our customer family and they will immediately benefit.”
CEO Greg Hunt emphasizes the advantages of Nufarm’s in-line formulation. “Our channel partners can call us if they have a spike in demand and we’re able to produce those batches at short notice. The Greenville location provides much more flexibility, and a much better way to manage working capital,” he notes.
Additionally, Hunt highlights the role of commitment: “We’ve got strong competitors, but you don’t have to be big to be successful. You’ve got to have a strong customer focus. Personally, I come from a farming background and my father was a farmer. I also had 25 years in retail. I want farmers and retail partners to know we’re committed to invest, but we want to work with them in a true partnership.”
The extreme pressure associated with the present ag retail market relates directly to the Greenville site, according to Deck: “Retailing is trying to manage working capital. The old days of trying to manage millions of dollars of inventory is something that can’t be afforded anymore. Business has to be done smarter and I want ag retailers to know we’re partnering with them so that by providing product faster and more efficiently, Nufarm can alleviate some of the financial pressures on the industry today.”
In attendance at the Greenville grand opening, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant highlighted the immediate and long-term benefits of the Nufarm facility. “My grandfather grew cotton here in the Mississippi Delta, usually on somebody else’s land because we didn’t own much, but we were proud of what we had and learned to work hard…most of us are one generation removed from the farm.”
“The protection for the crops into the future that Nufarm is going to offer will have residual effects,” Bryant added. “Farmers are going to see more yield for their investment.”