As we enter into the New Year, and as I’m out and about throughout the country, one of the biggest things I hear as a growing concern is about all the mergers taking place in agriculture right now. I believe there’s a growing apprehension among producers and suppliers that the landscape taking shape in the seed industry may not have their best interest at heart. The agriculture industry, not unlike many other industries, has started to experience the pains that come along with extensive mergers and acquisitions. Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not “demonizing” these mergers and/or the companies in them. I simply want us looking at the opportunities and benefits of working with an independent company in the current ag market.
I believe that, as an independent, there are many advantages we have in making an impact in the market. Of all the benefits, I believe the single most important is an independent’s ability to be customer-driven and more responsive to their needs. I recently visited a naval base and, as you can imagine, there were some huge ships there. These ships were impressive and, honestly, awesome to look at. Many of them could house 100’s, and even thousands, of sailors. Seeing those large ships made me feel very safe as a country. It can take most of these large ships up to 10 miles to turn, or “change direction”, and up to five miles to stop. Even if they’re heading toward something disastrous, their response time is going to take awhile to process.
After visiting the Naval base, I then went to my hotel, which was located right beside a small boat dock. As I looked out over all these boats a thought hit me. All these boats in the docks have the same basics as the large naval ship, but were obviously much smaller. These ships can be much more responsive and nimble to moving and going where they need to. I like to think of Independent companies, like Masters Choice, as these nimble ships that can respond to the needs of our customers, without having to take ten miles. As a consumer or supplier you have to ask yourself what’s really important to you when determining whom you do business with. Just because something is large and impressive, and still serves a purpose, doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for your ever-changing needs.