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Agrimarketing : November December 2007
46 Agri Marketing November/December 2007 AM: Describe AgVenture and its activities. JC: AgVenture (AVI) is a top-ten in market share seed company unlike any other seed company out there. We're different because we start with the grower. Through the nation's largest network of indepen- dently owned and operated regional seed companies (RSCs), we provide growers with locally adapted corn, soybean and alfalfa hybrids and vari- eties together with personal, profes- sional and committed seed support throughout the growing season. From our headquarters in Kentland, IN, AgVenture conducts comprehen- sive testing and assessment of new genetics and traits, and provides RSCs with seed products that they select for local adaptation to prof- itably serve their growers' needs. AM: How is its business model different than other seed companies? JC: In 1983, I took a look at the seed industry together with a group of entrepreneurial business visionaries. We firmly believed in the entrepre- neurial spirit of dedicated seed pro- fessionals who had the drive and desire to build a company --- many from scratch --- to better benefit their local growers. AVI provides these seed leaders with a framework to build their busi- nesses along with a national brand to validate all the seed companies within our network. We provide them access to suppliers including Monsanto, GreenLeaf, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, and production oriented seed genetics leaders such as Illinois Foundation Seed and others. AVI carefully evaluates the best science available in the seed indus- try allowing each RSC to select and adapt products that work best for their growers. This interdependent relationship is effective because our RSCs work with growers one-on-one and together as a national team --- consistently delivering the best sci- ence in the seed for local agronomic conditions. This is the model for a dynamically consolidating industry --- but uniquely built for those companies that want to remain independent. AM: Why is AVI using this model? JC: From the start, we've been directly tied to the agronomics and economics of each grower. Our busi- ness model is built on the premise that decision-making is best driven as close to the grower as possible. Thus, we empower and equip ambitious talent with exclusive terri- tories and opportunity to create their own business. True innovation is sustainable when grounded at the customer level. AM: What are its marketing activities? JC: We have a national brand that is sold and marketed through our RSCs. We offer professional sales and agronomic training opportunities and exposure to some of the most current sales and marketing thinking. Each RSC focuses those efforts to seamlessly fit their customers by farm and by field. It's a rigorous approach that is customized to work where and how growers' need to allow them to optimize profitability on every acre. It's that simple --- but because it is driven from the field up, it is exceedingly effective. AM: What are its successes? JC: Since inception, AVI has a proven track record of 15% compounded annual growth. We would not have achieved that without our dedicated RSC professionals. A lot has changed in the seed industry in the last 25 years, but the centuries of combined experience of this national network make us a for- midable force in the field. Their will- ingness and abilities to work together in this business model --- as AVI --- is distinctively unique and incredibly awe-inspiring. During the last few years, we've made a committed effort to building our team of consultative partners. Their innovative and inspired guid- ance provides each RSC and their staff with fresh thought and relevant perspective in best practices, selling and sales relationships, leadership, etc. We're proud of our efforts to con- tinually invest in the entrepreneurial leadership of our people and to fur- ther augment their abilities to com- pete at the highest level. AM: What role do communications have in AVI's marketing activities? JC: AVI's dedication to one-on-one support in cropping plans and grow- ers' decisions allow us to stay con- nected with the true impetus for prof- itable production. Our communication and PR efforts reflect that personal con- nection with growers. We offer pro- grams such as AgVenture University to keep growers current with agronomics and economics required to drive prof- itability to new levels. Through direct mail, sales calls, agronomy updates, field days, and enhanced Web-based tools, we sup- plement the personal communication with growers to sustain a profes- sional, total seed support network. Our tagline says it all: Grow with Confidence! When you consistently put the grower first and foremost, confident growth results! AM Name: John Cassidy Title: CEO/CFO/Chairman of the Board Career: A seed industry veteran, Cassidy founded AgVenture in 1983 Education: U.S. Naval Academy, B.A. in Criminology from Indiana State University, Graduate of American Seed Trade Assoc. Management Academy UNIQUE MODEL PROPELS COMPANY : AGVENTURE
2008 Marketing Services Guide