Startup Launches With Modified Direct Model For Ag Inputs

Meristem Crop Performance Group has launched with a targeted focus: supply large-scale farms the crop input additives they need at 30% less than compared to conventional suppliers. 

The company was founded by industry veterans Mitch Eviston and Rob McClelland, who say their goal is to deliver top quality products 

In 2020, they are offering seed treatments, plant growth regulators, drift control agents, water conditioners and surfactants, nitrogen stabilizers, micronutrients, foliar nutrients and diesel exhaust fluid. 

“We are launching our business with a set of products where, beyond a shadow of a doubt, we can deliver best-in-class products,” Eviston says. “We know we won’t have product failures, and we can start to build a national crop distribution model.” 

Another reason for the focus in their product lineup is the consolidation of distribution for these categories that Meristem aims to disrupt. 

“These categories are controlled by a very small group of national players and in all it’s a $3 billion market,” McClelland says. “There is a strategic way and a marketplace opportunity to bring a new offering.” 

Meristem publishes their prices for all products on its website. Its leaders say between 40 to 50 cents of every crop input pays for the channel—manufacturers, public warehouses, distributors, retailers and transport to the farmer. 

Meristem seed treatment“The value we bring is cutting out steps in the process,” Eviston explains. “It’s time for farmers to start looking at changing buying practices and buying direct. Additives are a low risk way to start that journey. We want every farmer to know when they buy from Meristem, they are buying as good as they can buy.”

The company leaders share they are not “anti-retail” and are establishing a network for distribution with independent retail outlets, including Record Harvest and Van Trump Ag Solutions. 

“For non-nationally aligned retailers, we are a tremendous solution,” McClelland says. “We are going to be an asset-light business while ensuring incredible customer service. We know that farmers want to do business with people. And we’ll always have someone they can connect with.”

For 2020, the company has already sold to 200 farmers and has had product on more than 1 million acres. 

“Our goal is to earn four points in market share in the next five years,” Eviston says.