Technology adoption slow for agricultural businesses

From: Drovers Cattle Network

Robert C. Goodling, Jr., Penn State Extension

Approximately half of U.S. and one-third of Pennsylvania ag businesses use technology to assist in business management. If you have not yet made the switch to computerized financial records, Penn State Extension provides a comparison of features in the major software packages.

Southern States’ Tony Randolph named Operator of the Year

From: CapeGazette.com

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Antonio ‘Tony’ Randolph, a custom applicator for Southern States’ Northeast North Carolina Agronomy Service based in Farmville, N.C., was named 2013 AGCO Operator of the Year at the annual meeting of the Agricultural Retailers Association in Miami, Fla.

Randolph, a seven-year veteran of Southern States, was recognized for his skills in precision application of fertilizer and crop protectants, his outstanding customer service and his hometown community involvement.

AGCO manufactures the RoGator self-propelled sprayers and TerraGator self-propelled high-floatation applicators used in commercial agriculture, and has sponsored the Operator of the Year Awards since 2006.

Morral Companies receives top agriculture retail honor

From: MarionStar (Gannett)

MIAMI — Morral Companies is Retailer of the Year for 2013, the Agricultural Retailers Association announced on Wednesday.

Morral Companies, which has facilities in Morral, Caledonia and Harpster, was nominated by Willard Agri-Services in Lynch, Md.

Sponsored by Monsanto, the ARA and AgProfessional magazine, the Retailer of the Year Award “honors retailers who represent the very best in the industry,” an ARA news release stated. The ARA presented the award at its annual conference in Miami.

Nominated retailers are evaluated on innovative business practices, community and industry leadership, environmental stewardship, reliability, technology utilization, customer service and effective employee development programs.

Highlights from first day sessions at ARA’s 2013 conference

From: AgProfessional

Colleen Scherer, Managing Editor, Ag Professional

MIAMI — Although the official start to the 2013 Agricultural Retailers Association’s Conference and Expo was Monday, Dec. 2, the general session and speakers started on Wednesday, Dec. 4. Daren Coppock, president and CEO of ARA, welcomed attendees to this year’s conference, “Play Like a Champion: Winning Strategies for Ag Retail.”

Bill Whitacre, president and CEO of J.R. Simplot Company, provided attendees with the keynote address looking at an overview of hot topics facing the ag industry. These topics included the ag value chain, sustainability, efficiencies, Big Data, and relevancy to the customer.

Top 100 Ag Retailers Experience Strong Year In Crop Protection Sales

From: CropLife

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The ag retail marketplace has witnessed plenty of ups and downs over the past five years: The Great Recession happened, which by extension led to lots of grower-customers forgoing fertilizer application work during 2008 and 2009; the number of herbicide-resistant weeds continued to multiple at an alarming rate; and the agricultural industry experienced its worst drought since the late 1980s, to name just a few.

Through all these changes, however, the one ag retail industry constant has been the crop protection products category losing overall market share. At times, it seemed as if nothing could stem this downward slide.