Challenges facing the seed industry were the topic of discussion at Tuesday morning’s general session at the 130th ASTA annual meeting. The state of agribusiness panel was composed of Ross Harvey from AdFarm, Blake Sieker managing partner at The Context Network and Kevin Ferguson farm management extension area specialist with the University of Tennessee. The panel was moderated by Lowell Catlett, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics at New Mexico State University.
Harvey opened the panel by discussing issues facing seed companies related to marketing. He mentioned three major areas that the seed industry must address related to marketing including the impact of producer consolidation, the human talent challenge and data driven decision making. Harvey also talked about marketing execution and management issues. “Use fewer tactics and don’t do some things and stay the course,” Harvey said. “Annual planning cycles don’t mean we have to reinvent our marketing initiatives every year.” According to Harvey, great marketing groups are disciplined, consistent, and are great at execution.
Listen to Harvey’s remarks here: Ross Harvey
The focus of Sieker’s comments was the status and future dynamics of corn and soybeans. He discussed the evolution of the business, industry trends and drivers and key characteristics that will keep the agriculture sector strong. According to Sieker those keys were “managing volatility, keeping pace with velocity and creating and providing value.”
Listen to Sieker’s comments here: Blake Sieker
Ferguson rounded out the panel by talking to attendees about the challenges that the American farmer faces in the changing industry. He discussed the change over that is occurring especially related to the transition of resources and management from one generation to the next. Additionally, Ferguson spoke on the challenge farms have to plan during profitable times. “Planning during the good times is often much more successful than planning during the bad times,” Ferguson said.
Listen to Ferguson’s presentation here: Kevin Ferguson I also caught up with Ferguson after the panel and you can listen to my interview with him here: Ferguson Interview