Ag Retail Groups Form Global Alliance
The formation of new agribusiness entity AgLink International was announced at the 2019 Agricultural Retailers Association Conference in New Orleans, LA.
The new organization brings together four like-minded independent rural retailer membership businesses from Australia, the U.S., Canada, and Brazil.
Founding members AgLink Australia, Integrated Agribusiness Professionals (IAP), AgLink Canada and AgriRede have come together for a common purpose; to provide an international platform that links independent agricultural retailers serving farmers.
CEO of AgLink Australia, Ian Scutt, said the new entity provides independent retailer organizations, their owners, staff, and customers the capacity to be part of a larger influential organization, without losing their own company culture and independence.
“AgLink International is the formalization of a network of aligned independent agricultural retailer groups, all of whom want to retain the benefits of being local and in control of their businesses with the scale and opportunity that comes with global reach, Scutt said. “Our goal is to define and champion the position of Independents as a powerful and strategic segment of the global agribusiness economy.”
Collectively, AgLink International represents a total annual revenue of US$3.8 billion. The 112 owner shareholder businesses employ more than 7,700 people – 1,860 of which are agronomist and sales representatives – at over 660 locations in four countries.
The organisation said it will seek out and work with its industry partners for the development of new technologies and markets, including the development of more meaningful and respectful supplier relationships at both local, national and global levels.
AgLink International will be based in Melbourne, Australia, and the inaugural chair will be Ian Scutt. While the structure of the business has the capacity to trade, it is not the initial intention of the group.
“Our focus is on collaboration, sharing and leveraging our collective size to provide access to the best new technologies such as digital ag and innovative inputs” said Dean Fahselt, CEO AgLink Canada.
“While each of our members will continue to negotiate with their existing suppliers and relationships, we believe that this new international network has the potential to open conversations with key global suppliers about cross-border opportunities.”
Jim Fargo, president of U.S.-based IAP, agreed, saying the new entity has the potential to deliver a best-of-both-worlds experience for farmers.
“As a group, we are rallying around our common values of leadership, innovation, networking and knowledge. All our activities will centre on these areas of focus, to add grower value based on local expertise with global reach.
“We will continue to make decisions that make sense for our individual businesses and regions, but with the scale and backing that comes from being part of a large, professional network.”
Rogerio Cabral, international relations director of AgriRede in Brazil, said his members are looking forward to collaborating across the new international network.
“The opportunity we have to share knowledge, insight, intelligence and friendships across the four countries is significant. We all face the same challenges, and now will have many extra ideas and solutions to tackle them collectively.
“We see this as a key strategic move that will benefit and create value for all our stakeholders across the agribusiness value chain.”
IAP sees global reach benefits, keeping a local presence
Fargo sees the AgLink International alliance as an opportunity to give IAP retailers the platform needed to align globally with like-minded independent retailers while maintaining a local presence.
“Agriculture is continually becoming more complex and global in scope. This new organization will help give IAP a much larger global perspective of agricultural and the challenges we all face globally.
I see our organizations learning from each other, sharing data, employees, practices and technology that could benefit our retailers and assist them in better serving their local farmers.
He sees significant potential to positively impact the local farmers the IAP retailer serve.
“For example, if we conduct research trials together, imagine the amount of data we can collect from all four countries in just one 12 month growing season,” he said.
“As the world’s agricultural businesses continue to grow through merger and acquisitions, the AgLink International partnership will allow us to take part in something much bigger than ourselves.”
Fargo believes that learning and networking with the leadership teams of the other member groups will be of great benefit.
“I believe the greatest opportunity will come about when we can socialize retailers from different countries together in the same room.
“The retailers that are part of AgLink International are some of the brightest business men and women in the world. Connecting them will be powerful.”