Field of Agronomic Dreams: Rethinking the Farm Supply Co-op to Drive Value

By Kenneth Zuckerberg

November 2020

Key Points

  • Cooperatives have a long, proud history and remain the largest and most important providers of farm supplies to America’s crop farmers. However, challenging fundamentals and disruptive forces – in place prior to COVID-19 – are pressuring the business model.
  • Several agricultural cooperatives have merged or signed joint ventures during 2020. Unfortunately, consolidation alone does not fix difficult industry fundamentals, which include competition with independent ag retailers and the stresses on farmers’ income.
  • These pressures offer cooperatives’ management teams and boards the chance to evaluate and explore various ideas to improve profitability. These ideas range from re-focusing on operational excellence to strategic partnerships that embrace new precision ag technologies and enhanced advice and service.

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