I’ve been on the road the last two weeks meeting w/ growers across the mid-south, hopefully you were able to attend one of our meetings. It’s no secret that the outlook for the 2022 season looks challenging. I wanted to send out this message w/ some updated information as well as a few recommendations that I hope you will find helpful. In my meetings w/ growers, the topic that seems to be on everyones mind has been the sharp price increases and product shortages we’ve been seeing in the crop protection market recently. I wish that I had better news but based on conversations I’ve had w/ some of my contacts, things probably will not correct itself anytime this season. With this being the case, growers are going to have to proceed w/ much caution this season.
FBN has Inventory on Most Products!
Our product team at FBN has done a great job procuring products for the 2022 season, and even manufacturing a lot of products in-house through our alignment w/ GCS, it seems that there’s now a good chance that we will probably see some products disappear from the market as early as December. This will force growers to make substitutions in their chemical plans w/ alternative products that are not as effective and likely more expensive. This is a terrible scenario when growers have to be mindful of even the smallest operational costs in order to maintain profitability.
What Should I be Doing Right Now?
My advice this week to growers has been to aggressively start locking down a high percentage of what their anticipated chemistry needs are going to be this season. I back up this advice w/ the following points… (a) product isn’t entering the market as quickly as it’s being purchased, (b) there is zero indication that we will see price reductions anytime soon, and (c) specific products are already disappearing.
Stay Focused on Key Products
I’m also encouraging growers to prioritize their purchasing from a product level perspective as opposed to being distracted by the industry as a whole. The reason I say this is because many of the shortages we’ve seen have been product specific as opposed to categorical shortages. For instance, we might see plenty of fungicides on the market but specific products like Azoxystrobin may become short across the entire industry in a matter of hours. I’ve also broken down a handful of products that I would prioritize right now such as:
- AgSaver Glyphosate 5.4lb
- 2,4-D LV6 Value Pick
- Willowood Paraquat 3SL
- Mesotrione 4 Value Pick
- Willowood Imazethapyr 2SL
- Willowood Propanil 4EC
- Willowood Thionil EC
- Willowood Thionil EC
- Willowood Imidacloprid 4SC
- Willowood Metribuzin 75DF
- Willowood Glufosinate
- Willowood Clethodim
How do I get Setup w/ FBN?
It’s easier than ever to get setup to do business w/ FBN, and the best part is that membership is completely free. If you are an existing member but haven’t done business w/ us in the past (or maybe it’s been a while), please feel free to reach out to me directly and I’ll be more than happy to assist you in getting logged into your account. If you are new to FBN, the process of getting your account setup will only take a few minutes.
- Download FBN’s Mobile App and create your free account. If smartphones aren’t your thing you can also create your account online
- If you would like to take advantage of our 0% financing, you will need to complete our secure, online Credit Application or Credit Renewal for existing customers.
- Once your account is created, we will need to get a copy of your Restricted Use Pesticide License and your FEIN Tax ID#
Carryover Glufosinate on the market…
We’ve seen a lot of Glufosinate on the market the past few weeks at last seasons prices, which is hard to even imagine because increased COGs for Glufosinate have caused the price to more than double on newly manufactured product that’s hitting the market. Unfortunately, there’s only a short window that this Glufosinate will be available before it gets picked up and we are forced to accept 2x pricing this season. In talking w/ growers across the region I can tell you that the carryover Glufosinate is already harder to locate today than it was last week, so there’s a very short window, I’d make this a priority if you use a lot of Liberty (glufosinate). Be sure to reach out to me prior to taking a big position on Glufosinate and I’ll be more than happy to let you know how you are doing!
Take Advantage of Every Opportunity…
FBN is not typically a company that brings a lot of programs to the marketplace, we’ve historically operated w/ only a handful of pre-season promotions but this season we’ve put together a collection of programs to help growers save money by meeting various requirements. Every penny will count this season. I also recommend taking advantage of 0% financing that we offer at FBN, this is essentially free money until January 2023. Even added value components such as free shipping will add up quickly when margins are being squeezed.
Pay Close Attention to ROI
Taking into consideration the current business environment we are operating in as well as the fact that inflation is rapidly becoming a concern among economists, we are going to need to get the most bang for every dollar we spend this season. An example, traditionally when market prices are high we will see soybean producers spend a few extra dollars to apply fungicide to their crop in order to squeeze out a few more bushels per acre. When the markets are down, growers are reluctant to spend those extra dollars because it might not pencil out as well in the end. My advice to everyone I speak with is to use that same logic when making decisions this season, especially on big ticket inputs like seed. We have some great soybean and corn seed varieties for the mid-south that are priced competitively in comparison to comparable varieties on the market, this is an excellent opportunity for growers to increase their return on investment since seed costs are typically one of their largest input costs. I recently blogged about 3 of my top seed recommendations for the mid-south, click here for more information.
Review Operations During Offseason
Given the complexities of the upcoming season It might be advantageous to spend some time this offseason reviewing your business from an operational standpoint.
Operations Review: Financing
One area that might be worth spending some time is a quick review of your existing land and equipment financing, especially since interest rates are still pretty low. There might be opportunities to refinance or access equity in the current environment. Our team at FBN Finance would be more than happy to visit w/ you about our various products & services. Our representative for the mid-south, Carla Lappe, has already worked w/ multiple growers in the area and would love the opportunity to work w/ you!
Operations Review: Crop Insurance
In addition to finance, I would also recommend reviewing your crop insurance coverage. I work closely w/ our crop insurance representative for the mid-south, Beth Killingsworth, and I’ve learned that this is one area that is often overlooked or neglected by growers. My personal opinion is that it’s often overlooked because it’s not always the easiest thing to understand. In dealing w/ complex products like this it’s always advantageous to sit down w/ a professional that can explain your current level of coverage as well as make any recommendations that might be beneficial to your operation. It doesn’t cost anything to get a second opinion but overlooking this aspect of your business could turn out to be costly! If you are interested, you can drop Beth Killingsworth an email and schedule some time w/ her to review your coverage.
FBN’s Investment in the Mid-South
My initial goal for hitting the road the past two weeks was to introduce several partnerships we’ve made w/ community builders in the region and to also announce some huge investments that we’ve made in the Mid-South. Last season we began working on an all-new, state of the art, facility in Olive Branch, MS. This new facility is about 10x the size of our old facility in Helena, Arkansas and has the capability to operate about 3x faster. I recently toured these facilities and I can tell you that there’s not another facility in the mid-south comparable. Our forklifts even have computers that tell the drivers where to locate products in this massive new facility. In addition to Olive Branch we’ve also added a smaller, but equally advanced, facility in Jackson, MS.
Both of these facilities were engineered from the ground up incorporating the latest technology as well as our sincere focus on providing the best customer experience in the industry. We are also adding our own fleet of trucks that will enable us to service the mid-south. We are currently in the process of hiring drivers right now that have the proper certifications & ratings. Our entire team is extremely excited about these new facilities and look forward to the continued growth of our footprint in the Mid-South.
We are Local…
Not only has FBN invested heavily into the Mid-South in terms of infrastructure, we’ve also developed partnerships with a team of community builders that will greatly assist us in pursuing our mission & vision as well as providing the best customer experience in the industry. These community Builders are likely people that you already know and might have already done business with in the past. These trusted resources in the community will be representing the FBN brand and providing industry leading service to our growers.
In closing… Give Us a Shot…
In closing, I encourage you to keep an eye on the news for some major announcements regarding FBN. Bottom line, we aren’t going anywhere… in fact, we will continue to show up where growers need us. Lastly, I want to encourage you to give us a shot this season, we would love the opportunity to earn your business!
Thanks, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!