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Agrimarketing : February 2009
OUR$20MILLIONINVESTMENTINAG : AGROTAIN International Name:MikeStegmann Title: President Career:Grandson of one of the founders of Lange-Stegmann (L-S).He joined the company in 1979workingin thewarehouse. After serving in a number of positions, he became President in 2003.His is a graduate of theAgricultural Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT) programinMissouri. AM:Pleaseprovideanoverviewof AGROTAINInternational. MS: Formore than 80 years, L-S has been a supplier of fertilizer products, fromthemarketing of animal by- products in the early part of the 20th century,to the advanced technologies thatwe provide today. AGROTAINInternational is a wholly owned subsidiary of L-S and was formed to introduce andmarket our StabilizedNitrogen technology, whichwas specifically designed to improve nitrogen efficiency in urea fertilizer andUANleading to healthier plants and higher yields. AM:Pleasedescribethecompany’stwo newCenters itbuilt last year. MS: The companies recentlymade a $20million investment in its StabilizedNitrogenCenter and the St. LouisUreaCenter to helpmeet skyrocketingworldwide demand for nitrogen.Our goal is tomakemore lower cost nitrogen available and provide the technology tomake it as efficient as possible. The St. LouisUreaCenter adds a massive 63,000 tons of fertilizer stor- age capacity to the company’s exist- ing space in close proximity to the agricultural heartland of the conti- nent. The newfacility has the poten- tial to handle up to onemillion tons of imported ureaper year. Its location at the northernmost port on theMis- sissippiRiver,which is lock- and ice- free,making it unrivaled for access to road, river and rail transportation. The StabilizedNitrogenCenter is all about nitrogen efficiency.It is the country’s first phase-modifying urea manufacturing plant in theU.S. and 66 AgriMarketing s January/February 2009 is expected to produce 125,000 tons of StabilizedNitrogen fertilizers annu- ally fromthe basic urea commodity. AM:What is your current viewof thecrop nutrients business? MS: Just like energy prices, fertilizer prices continue to fluctuate.Unfortu- nately,I think, volatility is a trend to be expected in the long term. There aremore global factors influencing prices, such as burgeoning demand fromdeveloping countries and less domestic production of nitrogen. And centrallymanaged economies likeChinawill act in their own self interest regarding tariffs, rather than lettingmarket forces set prices. As urea and other commodity prices have risen after decades of rel- ative stability,growers are looking to get themost fromtheir fertilizer dol- lars. The technology ofAGROTAIN improves the efficiency of nitrogen fromurea by controlling volatiliza- tion, ensuring the nitrogen applied is used by the cropinstead of being lost in the atmosphere. AM:WhydidyouacquireAGROTAINand howis itdoinginthemarketplace? MS: Because of the tremendous future value the technology holds, L-S acquiredtheAGROTAINtechnology portfolio and formedAGROTAIN International in 2000. Since then, high domestic natural gas prices have pushedmost urea production over- seaswhere rawmaterial is cheaper. Worldwide demand for nitrogen has increased.Nownitrogen ismore expensive and growerswant tomake every pound count. AGROTAINhas experienced rapidlyincreasingdemand.Currently, AGROTAINInternational’sproducts are licensedandsoldinmorethan68 countries. IntheU. S. last year,almost 6%of allurea fertilizerusedwas stabi- lizedwithAGROTAIN. I expect that figure tohit just over 7%thisyear. AM:Howis theAGROTAINsales force structured? MS: It is comprisedof regional representatives throughout the coun- trywhocalluponretailers anddistrib- utorsbothnationally andinternation- ally, including agribusiness, turf/ ornamental andother industries. Specifically in our core industry of agriculture, our representatives support distributors and local retail- ers inmarketing and logistics. They host grower educationalmeetings with retailers and provide advice on howtomake themost of their cus- tomers’ nitrogen. AM:What role does communications have inAGROTAINmarketing activities? MS:We are expanding our communi- cations efforts, becausewe knowthat many growers are not aware that they can do something about nitro- gen losses. Most growershave come toaccept that theyhave tocompensate for losses byapplyingmore thanthe cropneeds. ThatwasbeforeAGROTAINtechnol- ogy.Nowwithhigherprices,growers, andthe agronomists advisingthemare fine-tuning their fertilityprograms withtheadditionofAGROTAIN stabilizednitrogenfertilizer. We are doing allwe can so that growers and their advisors learn how tomake themost ofAGROTAIN technology.That includes traditional advertising, thewww.agrotain.com Website,workingwith themedia and having our representatives attendmeetings and industry events to share information. AM
Marketing Services Guide