Upstream Ag Professional - July 30th 2023
Essential news and analysis for agribusiness leaders
Welcome to the 2nd Edition of Upstream Ag Professional!
This week I have added a new “Key Takeaway” section for each article/write-up within Upstream Ag Professional.
To help save time and support a “smart brevity” approach, each section has one to three key points that can give you what you need or help you determine if you want to dig in deeper.
Index for the week:
Navigating Strategic Development, Strategy Tax, and the Opportunity in Uncertainty in Agribusiness
Yara Launches Two Adapt-N Agreements with Proagrica and EverAg: What it entails, Why it matters, and What happens next?
AgVend Captures 20% of the North American Ag Input Retail Market and Why That Matters
Bushel® Transforms Farm Management Software with the Launch of Automated Entry of Grain Contracts
“Farmers Unaware of the Invaluable Value of Their Collective Data” - Why this isn’t quite right.
High-Tech Weed Control to Give Farmers a Look Into How Precise Spraying Can Be
Venture Capital Takes Risk in Ag Technology So Farmers Don’t Have To
Thermal Data Startup Constellr Extends Seed Round to €17M
Thank you for your continued support!
1. Navigating Strategic Development, Strategy Tax and the Opportunity in Uncertainty in Agribusiness - Upstream Ag Professional
Overviews of setting strategic direction, overcoming homogeneity in ag retail offerings, and an example of Meristem Crop Performance
Defining strategy Tax: A strategy tax emerges as a trade-off in pursuit of broader organizational goals, where the potential drawbacks are deemed acceptable in light of the overall benefits of the strategic direction. Covers agribusiness and ag retail examples.
Uncertainty around product and service decisions keep margins higher and competitors out— get an overview as to why uncertainty is a good thing in business and how to lean into uncertainty to differentiate.
This week I read an article from Ken Zuckerberg, who always brings a unique perspective to the industry.
In Who’s On Your Digital Dance Card? Ken astutely suggests to retailers the need to have “a way to engage digitally with the farmer ..that helps reduce the timing constraints and stress involved with input purchases.”
This view is aligned with the concept I talk about frequently in having a friction reduction mindset at the heart of what you are doing as an ag retailer or any agribusiness:
Ken goes on to say that one of the biggest risks to retailers is inaction, and there is a need to explore options to service your customer effectively today. I agree.
But I think there is still a need for thoughtful contemplation.
I would suggest taking a step back before making these leaps— not because it is inherently bad to post prices online, but because all decisions need to be thought of in a more coherent, all-encompassing strategy for an ag retailer or as an agribusiness.
Tactical efforts are like a Rubik’s cube— a move in one direction means a new challenge to overcome in another.
There are always trade-offs.
The example in the article from Ken is having prices easily accessible online. This effort isn’t as simple as posting them online and seeing if it works. That endeavor will affect the rest of a retailer’s offering.
It creates a chain reaction that needs to be considered in the context of staff incentives, who the target customer is, product sourcing, margin targets, what your differentiators are, and more.
To effectively navigate this chain reaction, there is a need to build a structured strategy, and lean into the strategy tax and uncertainty.
The dynamics of these three areas are covered in this Upstream Ag Professional member-only article.