January 5, 2016
One of Agrium’s success stories is Loveland Products Inc., a standalone company, which operates within our Retail business, and turned 45 years old in 2015. LPI, as it is structured today, began to take shape 13 years ago.
In its early years, Loveland was mainly in the adjuvant business. In 2002, Loveland started getting into crop protection products. Then, in 2006, work began on a differentiation strategy, where Agrium took generic products and enhanced them with different technology platforms.
Demonstrating the importance of product development, a total of 44 brands were launched between 2009 and 2014. These were comprised of differentiated brands, generic brands and new technology brands.
Today, Loveland Products is comprised of four main product lines:
- Adjuvant - Products used in a tank with crop protection or crop nutrition products to help them get to a plant better, better absorb into the plant and stay on the plant to give better retention for the products they're enhancing.
- Crop Protection –Herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, killing weeds, killing bugs, killing disease to help make a healthier crop.
- Seed Treatment – Coatings on seeds that then get planted into the group and fall into two categories - crop protection (disease, insect on seed) and also plant nutrition. About making healthier seed and earlier germination.
- Plant Nutrition – Starter fertilizers, foliar fertilizers, biological products (bio stimulants), and synthetic stimulant-type products -- plant growth hormones, plant growth promoters. About making a heathier crop from the start all the way through the season.
Agrium has found that growers are at different stages in education. For years, growers have held a deep understanding of N, P and K nutrients and they also understand how to kill a bug, a disease and a weed. However, now this knowledge is being refined with new technology around precision application and monitoring techniques.
With this more precise approach to crop production comes an opportunity to tailor the inputs to the specific needs of the plants and this has presented a huge opportunity for LPI’s specialist biologicals and nutritional products. This advanced level of customized prescription farming ties perfectly into our increasing capabilities in precision agriculture through our Echelon platform. With our vast network of highly trained crop consultants working every day to educate growers around these leading-edge farming techniques, the technology is catching on.
Plant nutrition is an area that has seen the biggest growth for LPI, much of it coming in a hectic four-year span starting in 2011. Through a series of mergers and acquisitions, as well as taking up minority interest positions in certain companies, Agrium accrued all sorts of research and development expertise as well as processes, technologies and biological products. Today LPI is a leader in this field.
Over this same time, LPI has also grown its reach into other countries Agrium operates in. In addition to the original Loveland Products, which for over 40 years operated only in the U.S., the last five years has seen the emergence of Loveland Products Canada, Loveland Agri-Products in Australia and Loveland Products South America.
International growth has been a key factor in the success for Loveland Products, which also has third-party relationships that allow them to sell into 50 other countries worldwide.
As a result, international sales have grown from less than five percent of Agrium’s overall business to greater than 15 percent today, with aspirations to move that figure to closer to 25 percent in the future.
With the continuing evolution of technology, Loveland Products continues to look at new and better ways to solve issues that growers are facing. Much of this product development work takes places in a research lab in Loveland, Colorado.
With Agrium servicing over 500,000 growers annually, look for Loveland Products to continue to grow, the technology to continue to evolve, and LPI and all its offerings to remain a trusted choice for growers.