Editor's note: This story was orginally published on Oct. 2, 2017.
It’s been two years since WinField, Land O’Lakes, Inc.’s crop inputs and insights business and United Suppliers brought their seed and crop protection products businesses together. Now, as the final steps in the merger take place and United Suppliers’ crop nutrients and Canadian businesses join WinField United, the business is not just coming together, it’s focused on a future of agronomic leadership.
While Bayer and Monsanto, Dow and Dupont, Syngenta and ChemChina, and others focus on getting their merger deals done and launching their integration activities, WinField United is already two years down a path of integration and investment.
Here’s proof. The new WinField® United Innovation Center, a 55,000-square-foot state-of-the-art product and technology testing and development facility, is now open as an epicenter of agronomy research and development. At the same time, our newly launched Ag Tech team continues to focus on scaling the businesses’ unique combination of farming technologies. They’re supplying data and insights to ag. retailers who help farmers make the right in-season crop management decisions to responsibly achieve predictable outcomes—in terms of both crop yield potential and profitability. We’ve also recently acquired Armor Seed, LLC which brings complementary seed offerings to the WinField United portfolio.
The team has also been focused on solidifying WinField United’s position as a leading tester and validator of agricultural seeds, crop protection products and new technologies for agriculture. Using its more than 200 Answer Plot® locations and extensive data validation processes, the WinField United team develops data-backed product and technology recommendations farmers and the retailers who advise them can trust.
“As a farmer-owned business, we’re in a unique situation. Our first commitment is to our owners. Every investment we make is focused on providing the products, services, and expertise our locally owned and operated agricultural retailers need to advise the farmers they work with every day,” says Mike Vande Logt, EVP and COO, WinField United. “When our owners succeed, we succeed, and we never take that for granted.”
Positioned for the future
In an industry that is consolidating and rapidly changing with emerging technologies, agricultural businesses need size and scale to maintain partnerships and invest in the future. With the merger, WinField United expanded its customer base to 1,300 locally owned and operated cooperative and independent agricultural retailers. Through their work with farmers, we collectively touch half the harvested acres in the United States.
With the final merger steps and the addition of crop nutrients to the WinField United portfolio, effective Oct. 1, 2017, WinField United now offers a total agronomy solution. Crop nutrients joins a business known for providing insights derived from more than 6 million data points gathered through the Answer Plot® program and Innovation Trials, as well as soil and tissue testing services farmers rely on during the growing season. The insights are delivered through some of the industry’s leading technology. The Answer Tech® platform includes WinField United’s proprietary tools—such as the R7® Tool suite focused on helping farmers make good decisions in the field—as well as tools from other industry partners.
“Perhaps most importantly, we have an expert team of agronomists and ag technology specialists to help retailers and farmers make sense of all the data and insights and use them to make the right decisions to achieve predictable outcomes in the field at a time when they really need to maximize their investments and count on the outcome,” says Mike.
United we win
The 2-year merger and integration process allowed the WinField United team to thoroughly understand the complementary portfolios they were bringing together. In addition to taking a thoughtful approach to integrating two successful business, the team also continued to invest in new components.
“We’re building WinField United on the foundations of our past, and we’re committed to creating something new for owners who need to be able to compete in an environment that is fundamentally changing how they do business and how farmers grow our food,” says Mike.
When the business introduced its new name—WinField United—a year ago, it was launched with the idea that the business would focus on providing customers with everything they need to “win in the field.” But, it wasn’t just about winning. It was about doing it together, “united.”
“Our future depends on strong partnerships—with our owners, with manufacturers and suppliers, with new and emerging developers of technology and with government,” says Mike. “Partnership and collaboration is a natural fit for a farmer-owned business made up of people who are passionate about this industry and about advancing agriculture intelligently through our unique model of doing business. Together, we’re focused on generations, not quarters.”