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  • Atlantic Tractor of Mechanicsville Open for Business

    Clayton, DE, March 22, 2021 – Atlantic Tractor of Mechanicsville has officially opened its doors for business at 28155 Three Notch Road, just off of Route 5.

    Atlantic Tractor of Mechanicsville will provide agricultural, homeowner and compact construction equipment solutions from John Deere, Frontier and Honda to the southern Maryland area. “We are ecstatic to now be the official John Deere dealer in this area,” Atlantic Tractor CEO, Mel Goldsmith stated. ”For years now, Atlantic Tractor has been serving many of the agricultural customers in southern Maryland, so when the opportunity presented itself to also support the local homeowners, commercial landscapers and construction businesses with equipment, parts and service solutions, we were happy to step up to the plate. We look forward to working with the southern Maryland communities and providing them with both quality equipment and exceptional customer service.”

    Since November of 2020, Atlantic Tractor has been renovating what was formally Mechanicsville Building Supply. Both internal and external modifications have been made to the main building to transform it to the latest Atlantic Tractor and John Deere standards.  Other structures on the property will continue renovations throughout the first half of 2021.

    Atlantic Tractor, LLC, the MidAtlantic’s largest John Deere Dealership, is a multi-store dealership with locations throughout Maryland and Delaware as well as southeastern Pennsylvania. Atlantic Tractor offers new and used lawn and garden, commercial, compact construction and agricultural equipment.

  • Monroe Tractor Celebrates 70 Years and Still Growing

    March 18, 2021 - Henrietta, NY

    It all started in May of 1951 in a 30 x 40-foot cinder block building in Henrietta New York. When Monroe Tractor’s founder, Henry Hansen and wife Dorothy opened the doors to their family’s Case agriculture dealership they had a mission – “Where courtesy dwells, service excels,” and Henry’s vision for the company “If you take care of the customer, the business will grow.”

    Henry built his customer relationships on trust and adapting to a changing world for long-term survival. In Monroe’s case, Henry was a pioneer in what today is a major business – rental! “I don’t know if they even rented cars back then,” said Henry. He continued, “We started with one piece of equipment that we rented so we had to make sure it ran.” Soon after, 11 new machines were purchased. He stuck his neck out to do it, but it turned out to be a good thing. It was quite a rental business then. We were the only ones renting at that time. The concept was a success that quickly led to increased competition for both rental and permanent business.

    Monroe is a company that has remained family-owned and operated and continues to grow today across New York state, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Vermont!

    What started the business as an agriculture dealership soon led to acquiring Case construction equipment when a Pippin backhoe and loader was attached to a Case tractor in 1956. This machine became the most versatile combination of all diggers, from digging, shoveling, loading, backfilling, rock drilling to cleaning catch basins, it did it all.  And in 1963 the Case construction line was added, just in time for the 1965 suburban housing development, where Monroe saw substantial growth in its construction equipment division.

    After graduating from Kent University and engaged to be married, ready to settle down, Henry’s daughter Janet Felosky joined the company in 1972 working as a parts technician, then as a credit assistant and on to credit manager for several years.

    In 1973 the agriculture portion of the business moved to rural Batavia and Canandaigua. While these 2 stores were successfully opened, the Henrietta store was restructured to support the construction and government agency markets. In 1983 the second construction equipment location opened in Buffalo, New York followed by the third in Syracuse, New York in 1986. In 1988 the third agriculture store opened in Adams Center New York, making it a 6-location operation – 3 construction locations and 3 agriculture locations.

    Monroe Tractor in 1999

    In 1990 Henry saw the talent and interest in his daughter Janet. She had earned his trust throughout the company and followed the same vision as he had done since 1951 and announced Janet as President of Monroe Tractor. Knowing that the Henrietta store was in dire need of renovations, in December 1999 the Henrietta store and corporate headquarters moved to a new building up the road to better support its customers.

    In 2001, Janet’s son, Chris Felosky joined the family business where he served as a sales representative for five years. After gaining sales experience, Chris was named the product support manager of Monroe Tractor. Here, he developed a new department and new focus for all Monroe Tractor locations – the ability for Monroe Tractor to produce the parts and service solutions their customer’s needed, regardless of the brand equipment they owned. Chris next took on the role of corporate Parts and Service Manager for both the Ag and Ce stores. In 2016, he accepted the role of the agriculture division’s General Manager. “I have a tremendous appreciation for the way that I have been brought into this business with an opportunity to see all aspects of the company’s inner workings,” Chris said. “I will always treasure the words of wisdom that were imparted to me by my grandfather and I look forward to the continued guidance and direction from my mother.”

    Monroe Tractor Family

    More expansion came in 2008 when Randall Hansen of S.C. Hansen made plans to retire. Nothing could be more appropriate than keeping S.C. Hansen, which was founded by Henry’s brother Stewart, in the family. “The merging of two family-owned and operated businesses, with a combined 118 years of industry experience, had a positive impact for all who have equipment needs,” Janet Felosky stated. This acquisition expanded Monroe Tractor into Albany, Elmira, Binghamton, and Hornell, New York. In December 2017, Monroe combined the Elmira and Hornell stores at a newly built facility in Campbell, New York where they support both the agriculture and construction markets.

    Janet’s daughter, Laura Wilkas, joined the company in 2011 and took the role of Marketing Director. She successfully re-branded Monroe Tractor and continues today working with the 13 branches building the culture, company values, and the Monroe Tractor brand. “My grandfather built relationships and maintained them. It isn’t much different than how we do it now, and that is through having good people who genuinely care about the customer,” explained Wilkas.

    2013 Janet takes over the CEO role from her father to allow him to step aside.

    In October of 2014, Henry Hansen passed away at the age of 94. He is still missed today by all who had the pleasure of knowing him, a man of his word. They remember his big heart, kind nature, and contagious smile. He was an outdoorsman, philanthropist, and family man. His vision and values for the company remain in place today through daughter Janet – CEO, grandson Chris Felosky – President, and granddaughter Laura Wilkas – Marketing Director.

    In 2019 Janet passes the torch to the next generation, announcing her son Chris Felosky as President. Chris had been preparing for this position since he shared his desire and interest in the business and carries on with the same philosophy he learned from his mother and grandfather, “Take care of the customer and the company will grow. “With his energy and passion for the business Chris will lead with his leadership team through the next period of growth providing support for the branches”, said Janet.

    Monroe is backed by the reputation and performance of the Case, Case IH, Wirtgen Group, LeeBoy, Screen Machine, Claas, Kuhn Krause, and several more brand name equipment. It also offers a broad inventory of OEM and aftermarket parts at affordable prices. It has a team of knowledgeable service techs that provide in-shop service, responsive emergency service, and field service with trucks that can make in-shop equipment repairs on-site. It has built an unmatched precision farming and machine control team to fit most brands of equipment and provide support to all customers regardless of the brand equipment they own.

    Monroe Tractor has also developed relationships with local educational institutions at various levels of study. They educate students about the array of career opportunities with the company and support interns that have transitioned to be some of its valued employees.

    July 2017 Monroe Tractor makes its presence in New England. Case Corporation approached them to purchase Case of New England in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts which was then relocated to Worcester, Massachusetts to offer a more centralized location. A complete store remodel now provides better support and service to customers in the entire state of Massachusetts. The Hartford, Connecticut location opened shortly after, now Connecticut’s only Case dealer that also serves Rhode Island. As this was happening, the agriculture division entered into Vermont where they provide support for the CLAAS product line.

    You can count on Monroe to provide its employees with the necessary tools, training, and equipment to guarantee they have what it takes to deliver on the company’s brand promise, “We’re there to keep you doing your job,” said Wilkas. “We try to make sure that our customers are comfortable in every department while doing business with us. How we build relationships and maintain them now isn’t much different from how relationships were built by my grandfather, and that’s through having good people who care about the customer,” Wilkas added.

    The entire Monroe Tractor team, at all 13 locations, looks forward with great anticipation to guiding Monroe Tractor into its next seventy years of growth. “Thank you to our customers for giving us that opportunity,” said Chris Felosky and Laura Wilkas.

     

     

     

  • Hayward Distributing completes acquisition of J.S. Woodhouse Co., Inc.

    Columbus, OH - January 4th, 2021 – Hayward Distributing Company announced today that it has purchased the assets and distribution rights of J.S. Woodhouse Co., Inc. Hayward will continue to operate the division under the Woodhouse name utilizing all of the current Woodhouse offices/warehouses as well as retaining all current staff and Territory Managers.

    Woodhouse has a long history beginning in 1843. The company supplies agricultural and light construction brands to dealers in the Northeast & Mid-Atlantic States. Woodhouse is now the second agricultural distributor to be acquired by Hayward, preceded by Ford Distributing who services dealers in the Midwest states.

    “As a sister distributor to our Ford division, we know Woodhouse and the ag / light industrial market well, and are excited to expand into the New England geography with the strong existing team, brands, and dealer base they have in place,” said Arin Monroe, Hayward Distributing President.

    Woodhouse was previously owned by the Reilly family. As part of the transition, Charles Reilly will stay on as General Manager of Woodhouse, while Bill Reilly and Bob Reilly will stay on for a short time to assist with the transition.

    Hayward is a premier outdoor power equipment distributer located in Columbus, Ohio, in business since 1947.

    For more information please contact:
    Arin Monroe, President
    Hayward Distributing
    800-282-1585
    www.haydist.com
    Charles Reilly, GM
    J.S. Woodhouse
    413-736-5462
    www.jswoodhouse.com

    Hayward Distributing Company

  • Lancaster County Gets Grant for Streambank Fencing Program

    LANCASTER, Pa. — Protecting Lancaster County’s water resources has been an ongoing effort for several decades. Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest and funding available for landowners looking to do more for their local watersheds.

    After all, as the Lancaster County Conservation District points out, “clean water affects all who live here, through the food we eat, crops we grow, products we manufacture, and overall quality of the life we live.”

    There exists a developing synergy toward healthy waterways that continues to expand among both regional conservation groups and local organizations throughout Pennsylvania and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. This collaboration acknowledges that no single policy, organization or program can tackle or solve complex social or environmental problems alone.

    As a part of this gaining momentum, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Altria Group Inc. have partnered to award a grant to Lancaster County Conservation District. The award offers incentive payments to farmers installing fencing around streams to exclude livestock access.

    The program will pay an incentive rate per linear foot of fencing installed, including one cattle crossing and alternative watering site. Design and permitting will be done free of charge by the Lancaster County Conservation District staff. Minimum setback of fencing is 15 feet, however 35 feet is preferred and is a requirement for other funded best management practice programs. Buffered areas can still be flash grazed or mowed. The program will also provide a written Agricultural E&S Plan and Manure Management Plan for farms that do not already have one.

    The program is part of a regional focus centered on restoring the health of Lancaster’s local watersheds. Fencing a stream from livestock not only reduces nutrients and bacteria from entering waterways, but improves the overall health of the herd. Streambanks that are open to livestock become trampled by herds as they enter and exit the water, destroying vital habitat for aquatic life. By allowing a vegetative buffer to grow, plants develop deeper and stronger roots which prevent erosion in the long term.

    For more information or to apply for funding, contact Dennis Eby at the Lancaster County Conservation District at 717-874-2552. The deadline to apply for the fencing program is Dec. 14.

    Interested in reading more from Lancaster Farming? Click here to read it online and click here to subscribe!

  • Amazon, Walmart? Farming’s Wild Scramble For Online Ag Retail

    What if an entire farm supply of herbicide, fertilizer or seed was a mere click away and deliverable by Amazon or available by pickup from Walmart? Outlandish? Probably. Maybe. However, farming is rooted in one inescapable certainty: Change waits perpetually offstage.

    The scramble for ag retail dollars has kicked up a dusty haze as traditional chemical players scrap gravel with an expanding list of online start-up companies elbowing for market space. It’s a brick-and-mortar vs. e-commerce clash, and the rules of purchase, customer loyalty, and transparency are at stake. The Wild West has come to ag retail and the outcome for U.S. farmers remains a looming issue.

    Confusion and Surprise

    “It’s crazy right now and I’ve never seen a more competitive time in the ag retail space,” says Curtis Garner, senior farm analyst for Bowles Farming Co. in Los Banos, Calif. “Twenty years ago, there was money made hand-over-fist; not now. Ag retail is in new territory and I can’t even predict what’ll happen a decade from now.”

    In November and December of 2017, Bowles Farming Co. joined five neighboring farms and approached 11 retailers with a proposition to buy in bulk, shaking the tree for the best deals available on herbicide, fertilizer, defoliant, growth regulators, and more. Retailer reaction? Confusion and surprise, according to Garner: “They wanted to know why I was doing this and what was going on. A lot shied away and said we were already getting the best deals possible, but some guys wanted to play ball—especially the independent dealers.”

    Garner believes ag retailers are caught in a whirlwind of change. “There is a new generation of farmers raised on an ‘information should be open and free’ mentality and we’re seeing the reverberations specifically in ag retail. The culture is changing so fast that business is playing catch-up.”

    “Maybe no one wants to admit it, but some retailers are scared and see change coming from online competition. No question, the big retailers got lazy and provided opportunity for online disruption. Nobody knows where this is headed, but I don’t think online ag retail will blow up the supply chain as much as some think,” he adds. “In the end, the ones who create value on both sides are going to win.”

    Who Fits the Future?

    According to USDA’s Farm Production Expenditures 2017 Summary, “Combined crop inputs (chemicals, fertilizers, and seeds) are $51.8 billion.” The number of online ag vendors seeking to tap the input market is steadily growing, with a roster including AgrellusAgroyAgVendCommoditAgFarmer’s Business Network (FBN), FarmTradeHarvestPortINPUTSThe FarmElement, and more. In addition, InCeresAgriconomieYagro and Agrofy are based overseas. (According to a 2018 Farm Journal purchasing behavior study of 997 U.S. farmers, 8% of growers bought at least some inputs online this year and 13% plan to buy some inputs online in 2019.)

    Despite the crowded stage, Alexander Reichert, co-founder and CEO of AgVend, sees the future of ag retail as the combination of the convenience and time savings of e-commerce, with the service and local agronomic expertise of traditional ag retail. AgVend launched in 2018, covers 26 states, and partners with ag retailers looking to sell crop protection, nutrition, fertilizer, lubricants and oils online (seed sales are set for 2020). AgVend enables growers to search for products, filter results (based on price, delivery, bundled services, etc.) and select the option that best fits their needs, with the retailer handling the last mile delivery or pickup. (AgVend also offers retailers an online storefront if needed.)

    Reichert estimates total sales of online ag inputs in the single digits, but expects the figure to steadily rise. “We’re going to see the percent of e-commerce purchases hit 10% and rise fast. Within three to five years, I project we’ll see the number grow as high as 25%.”

    “AgVend has an advantage of credibility and network with established retailers. Other players in the online retail market are held back by trust issues. Buy a branded product online and watch what happens when a generic shows up at the door. It’s a very, very bad customer experience,” Reichert adds.

    Representing approximately 11 million acres of U.S. farmland, Brad McDonald is the managing director and co-founder of Agroy Inc., which utilizes online technology to link suppliers and buyers. Agroy connects farmers directly to providers of ag inputs through direct purchases online, or through mobile applications specifically designed for given retailers. Essentially, Agroy connects the dots as a third-party seller.

    McDonald is certain: Online ag input purchases will continue to gain traction. “This is going to be second-nature. Twenty years ago nobody bought online and now look at the pace of change. I don’t believe farmers are going to abandon current retailers, but the overall system is going to be more efficient through new purchasing technology. The players willing to disclose prices and offer products online will fit into the future.”

    Praised and Pilloried

    In 2015, FBN lobbed a grenade into the online ag retail market, allowing growers to go further upriver to source ag chemicals directly from manufacturers. In addition, paid membership allowed growers to view anonymous aggregation of seed performance data. The access to transparency was a radical change for growers, further accented in 2017, with the release of FBN’s seed relabeling project, which showed when a given corn or soybean seed was sold by multiple companies. Seed relabeling remains a common industry practice and one that farmers are often unable to track or recognize. According to FBN, relabeling is practiced by 67% of corn seed companies and 78% of soybean seed companies.

    FBN was praised and pilloried from all ends of agriculture, and the clamor continues with the kickoff of the F2F Genetics Network in 2018. Pared down, FBN offered its own seed line for non-GMO corn ($99 per bag) and off-patent glyphosate-resistant soybeans ($29 per bag).

    Charles Baron, co-founder of FBN, says the pushback from major industry players is consistently strong. “We’re constantly up against heavy-handed tactics, but we maintain focus on grower profit through a fair and transparent market. Whether it’s seeds, inputs, or crop marketing, the future is transparency and increasing farmer profit—and that’s our model.”

    “When we first started, we were attacked for introducing transparency. What does that say about principles of the industry? Well, first they attacked and now they’re trying to replicate our online system.”

    As anemic commodity prices pile the pressure on farmers, Baron insists the online option is not merely about cheaper products, but it is the future of distribution. “This is going to restructure the industry in ways massively beneficial to farmers. Why? It puts the farmer consumer in control.”

    Baron is insistent: Following mechanization, the Green Revolution, and genetic technology, the online transformation will trigger a “fourth revolution” in farming. “Growers can connect and network online to leverage power through data sharing on genetics and pricing to actually change the structure of the industry. That’s where the deepest and most profound change is going to come and it is already starting. Online is going to be the fourth revolution in agriculture.”

    Subscribing to the local and personal formula, Tyler Horbach believes the future of online ag retail will be a marriage of brick-and-mortar and e-commerce. Horbach is the founder of The FarmElement, an Iowa-based startup that partners with local retailers and co-ops. “We don’t disrupt their way of business, but enhance it by adding an additional channel to their business model.”

    Within 10 years, Horbach estimates 50% of fertilizer and chemicals will be purchased online. He says the tide of younger farmers is inescapable. “Everyone can see this happening, especially growers 35 and younger, who already have limited loyalty to retailers.”

    Horbach acknowledges a wave of online change, but says the gravity of purchases will always require a hands-on connection. Growers betting livelihoods on chemicals, fertilizer and seed can’t afford to make flippant purchases: “This is not like buying a pair of shoes. A farmer will always need human interaction, service and trust.”

    Achilles Heel

    Online retail expansion has an inescapable ceiling, according to Michael Boden, head of U.S. Crop Protection Sales for Syngenta. Crop management requires a host of decisions which can’t be completely met by e-commerce and the lack of human interaction is a major Achilles heel, he says. “Most growers value a service component and the agronomy that comes with it from a local relationship. That’s where online ventures miss the mark. Online options may offer more price transparency, but they don’t provide the decision-making components needed to make good agronomic decisions.”

    In addition, Boden says counterfeit products and stewardship are growing areas of concern over online sales: “When online entities acquire products from sources other than authorized dealers or contracted distributors, you’d better question and be concerned about the quality.”

    Echoing Boden’s concerns, Chris Novak, CEO of CropLife America, says the online sale, handling and delivery of agriculture chemicals raises significant stewardship questions and requires understanding of federal and state law. “We’re beginning to hear stories and we’re looking for data on counterfeit ag products sold online. It’s a major concern that speaks to farmer loss, quality control and lost sales for the industry.”

    “There is certainly opportunity for farmers to purchase online, but if they end up with any problems that result in damage to crops, they may not be able to resolve these issues by going back to the company or the sales rep. An online purchase can mean farmers give up some of that access to service. It is important that consumers consider this factor,” Novak adds.

    “There’s been a lot of fearmongering from the existing channels,” says Baron. “We, frankly, find it ridiculous.”

    Consolidation and Crystal Balls

    The number of major market players on center stage continues to shrink, and further consolidation is an incessant concern for farmers. How might an expansion of online retail affect future consolidation? Todd Janzen, attorney with Janzen Ag Law, says the legal spillover from e-commerce is a likely road to turmoil, at least in the short-term. “It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see the big online issues stacking up. If farmers can go online and see that they’re being price-gouged, it’s going to create waves. Zone pricing, seed rebranding, and now seed sales are all related to transparency. Traditional agribusiness has consistently moved toward consolidation, but these online players have definitely upset the traditional apple cart.”

    “Agriculture is headed for a wild time of anti-trust questions, regulatory issues, transparency factors and Amazon.com comparisons, and it all connects with online ag retail,” Janzen continues. “Who can say that even more online ag companies won’t pop up and what happens then?”

    Selection will play a counterbalance role, notes Reichert. “There are so many products out there that struggle to get in front of growers because they don't come from one of the top manufacturers. Traditionally e-commerce in other industries has given rise to these lesser-known brands, which slows consolidation and creates more product diversity.”

    Networking, in tandem with online retail, is a vital counterweight to consolidation, according to Baron. “Who really believes there’s not more consolidation coming in all aspects of agriculture? Farmers have to connect to gain market strength with independent genetics, price transparency and lower cost technology. Selling online is just one piece; farmers need to network to drive deep market transformations.”

    The torrent of change is so rapid that Garner declines to make a 10-year prediction, but says online ag retail could boomerang on consumers and spark another level of consolidation: “I think the successful online ag retail sites may eventually be purchased by established manufacturers and retailers. What’ll happen if you can just go buy UN-32 from Walmart?”

    “You have to be willing to recognize change,” Garner concludes, “because there is one thing for certain in agriculture: Nothing remains the same.”

     Article courtesy of: Farm Journal's AgPro