Think About This: The Next Big Thing

There were two big issues discussed at the annual ARA Conference and Expo, and they both start with D—dicamba and disruption.

In 2017, an estimated 3.6 million acres of soybeans experienced damage from dicamba. With the new labels, and retailers’ role in distributing and applying dicamba, it wasn’t surprising to see the preconference workshop and meeting session very well-attended.

As the industry heads into 2018, retailers are getting ready to help farmers avoid a similar result in the coming year. The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association has been spearheading the organization of dicamba-specific training. As I write this, more than 1,200 Illinois applicators have participated.

As an industry, everyone is recognizing that something has to change in 2018.

Speaking Of Change. Disruptive technologies have been a topic on the agenda of every conference I’ve attended this year. This includes the business model panel at the ARA Conference that featured consultant Steve Watts and Amol Deshpande, Farmers Business Network co-founder. And we’ll have more on this topic in future issues of AgPro.

John Ellis, a speaker at the Farm Journal AgTech Expo, challenged agricultural producers to think of themselves not as farmers but as technologists who deliver a farming product. Likewise for retailers, you aren’t an ag retailer but rather a technologist who delivers ag services and products. You can read more about this on page 16.

That is the same thinking of Tesla, whose founder Elon Musk refers to the business as a software firm that wraps its product with a car—or as recently introduced, a semi.

There’s literally a truckload of change coming our way. 

Check out how Asmus Farm Supply has evolved with change. The business’ story started with a new technology for the time, synthetic chemical pest control, and the company has since grown to now engage the third generation of family in the business and receive the 2017 Retailer of the Year recognition.