Formation of AgLink International announced
The new organisation brings together four like-minded independent rural retailer membership businesses from Australia, the United States, 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 organisations, their owners, staff and customers the capacity to be part of a larger influential organisation, without losing their own company culture and independence.
“AgLink International is the formalisation 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.
“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.
“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.”
Australian business welcomes new alliances
Mr Scutt expanded his comments on the importance of a network such as AgLink International being part of the global agribusiness landscape.
“The impetus for going down this path is to connect across other jurisdictions around the world to form strong relationships with likeminded organisations, and this is a vehicle for doing that.
He emphasises that while the name of the new entity uses the AgLink brand, it is not a takeover or merger.
“This is not about merging the other member-based groups into AgLink as we would know it here in Australia,” he said.
“AgLink is licencing its brand to AgLink International member organisations for the purposes of identifying this new global organisation. The name makes sense to the four founding member groups as it represents what this collaboration is all about.
Mr Scutt said recent consolidation across the rural reseller networks in Australia means that it is important to ensure the option of independent resellers remains available to local farmers.
“We are in a global environment with similar challenges and opportunities, whether we are talking about our retail networks or customers. Fostering a global network such as the AgLink International alliance is critical to provide relevance and certainty to our suppliers and farmer customers.
“It is important that we remain connected across our marketplaces, and this arrangement now allows us the opportunity to collaborate, exchange staff, enhance networking and share technologies between our home countries.
“We want to make sure that we’re not unnecessarily reengineering solutions that others have already nailed, and more importantly, that we are sharing the best and brightest ideas across our network, so we all can benefit.”
“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 US-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.