Navigating Crop Protection Supply Chain And Price Issues In 2022: NAFB interview with Atticus Business Unit Lead, Sam Knott


NAFB: As the industry reflects on 2021 and the unprecedented realities of supply uncertainty and sourcing challenges, Atticus is going to extremes to help customers plan ahead to secure herbicides, insecticides and fungicides that benefit retail distribution. Sam Knott, Atticus Business Unit Lead, East, discusses the company’s 2022 outlook and how to work through challenges securing inputs for the coming growing season…

Sam Knott: Beginning as early as 2017, global manufacturing sources were experiencing extreme challenges around the globe. Demand for many imports started to outpace the ability to transport goods from places like China and India. These countries also imposed environmental regulations that resulted in plant shutdowns and we saw raw material shortages, both of which caused production to become unpredictable and challenged planning or U.S. needs. This fragility overseas led to increased ocean freight costs and we experienced a lot of those in 2021, and we’ve seen those costs for logistics across the ocean increase 300 percent year over year on a global basis. On top of the global challenges, domestically, shipping ports are inefficient today, they’re congested and they’re outdated. With major shortages and limitations on truck drivers, this has also been caused backups and increased costs.

NAFB: For growers seeking to secure crop protection products in 2022, Knott encourages them the find reliable partners…

SK: They should be actively engaging with local suppliers that they have a relationship with. Chances are, some of those products that they normally rely on could be unavailable this upcoming year, or they could be priced to the point where they just don’t pencil out on a per-acre basis for the grower. So, choosing partners that are agile and reliable will be a huge importance for them this upcoming crop season and then for years to come as a reliable supply. They should also look to plan for alternatives early. Growers should be doing their homework on the same type of results that alternatives can bring to them in the face of shortages and pricing frustrations. That way, they have analyzed the pros and cons of other options that could be available to them that might work just as well and could possibly save them from missing any crop protection or nutrient application windows as well this upcoming season.

NAFB: He adds growers should also try to get answers and look for sources you can trust to give you honest, transparent updates about the barriers to supply and pricing. Knott says these efforts will help you navigate the 2022 crop season…

SK: We don’t necessarily see a near-term solution to the problems we have today, especially as it relates to shipping, so we would ask them to hunker down with their suppliers. At Atticus, we’re simply doubling down on our three core competencies, first is diversification, operational excellence and business acumen to help us deliver on a good customer experience. As a reliable ally to retail distribution, Atticus is focused on delivering a broad, expanding portfolio of relevant, branded-generic pesticides. We have a solid history working with retailers to help their grower customers secure the herbicides, insecticides and fungicides they need to improve and protect their crops.  We have a robust regulatory strategy at both the technical active-ingredient side and on the end-use finished product side. It allows us to be agile when unforeseen shutdowns or delays may occur in this industry. Atticus is fully staffed and battle-ready to help handle anything that 2022 may throw at us.

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