Canadian ag dealers join international retail giant

A group of Canadian independent agricultural retailers has linked up with other independents around the world to form a major player in the industry.

AgLink Canada has joined forces with AgLink Australia, Integrated Agribusiness Professionals in the United States and AgriRede in Brazil to create AgLink International.

“I think we’re the second largest globally now as far as ag retail goes,” said Dean Fahselt, chief executive officer of AgLink Canada.

The 112 companies that formed AgLink International have collective annual sales of US$3.8 billion generated from 664 retail outlets in four countries.

That ranks a distant second to Nutrien. The retail division of the company formed by the merger of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan and Agrium posted sales of $12.67 billion in 2018 from 1,700 facilities in North America, Australia and South America.

Ian Scutt, chief executive officer of AgLink Australia, said the new entity gives independents the chance to be part of a larger, influential organization.

“AgLink International is the formalization 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,” he said in a news release.

AgLink Canada was formed in 2017. It is owned by 19 independent retailers operating 60 locations across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The group’s collective annual sales are about $450 million.

Fahselt said the group had already been working closely with AgLink Australia.

“Before it was a pretty fuzzy relationship and now it’s fairly defined. We’ll have strategies going forward as to how we interact and what we do,” he said.

AgLink Canada members will have the ability to bulk buy crop inputs through AgLink International, but purchasing and distribution are not the primary goals of the company.

“Our objectives are learning and innovation and networking and knowledge,” said Fahselt.

It has become difficult for small, independent retailers to attract the attention of technology providers. AgLink International provides crop input suppliers one contact for reaching 660 retail outlets around the world.

“It’s about making sure that we’re relevant in Western Canada and in the world and that our grower customers are rewarded for doing business with us.”

Fahselt said it will be a two-way street with AgLink being a conduit for providing field-level product feedback from growers to crop input suppliers.

There have been plenty of mergers and acquisitions in the crop input business but independents remain an important part of the sector in Canada.

“Their share is still 28 to 30 percent, so there is a need, there is a desire by the consumer to support them,” he said.

  • McEwen’s Fuels and Fertilizers Inc.
  • The Rack
  • Aylsham Agro
  • Emerge Ag Solutions Inc.
  • Agri Team Services Inc.
  • Orchard Transport Ltd.
  • Veikle Agro Ltd.
  • Clearview Agro Ltd.
  • Ag Advantage Ltd.
  • Redfern Farm Services Ltd.
  • Jackson Seeds (2013) Ltd.
  • Jonair (1988) Ltd.
  • Ray Agro & Petroleum Ltd.
  • Olds Fertilizer and Agri Services
  • Dow Fertilizer Ltd.
  • Innova Ag Solutions Inc.
  • GrowPlan Fertilizers
  • Warrington Agro Dynamic Ltd.
  • Sturgeon Valley Fertilizers

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