In October 2020, AGCO announced it was acquiring the ag assets of Cat dealer Boyd Co. and establishing a new dealership — AgRevolution — to serve the ag community in Kentucky and southern Indiana. The launch of AgRevolution is a unique situation and the result of Boyd’s decision to focus on its core heavy construction equipment business and AGCO’s commitment to continue serving customers in the area. Though it will be a wholly owned subsidiary of AGCO, AgRevolution will operate in a manner similar to that of AGCO’s independent dealerships.
Stacy Anthony, formerly vice president and CEO of Claas dealer MirTech Harvest Center, was pegged to lead the newly established dealership, which officially began operations on Jan. 4, 2021. Farm Equipment caught up with Anthony to find out more about the new dealership group, how it would operate in relation to the OEM and his expectations for the first year of business.
Farm Equipment: How will the experience you had in your previous two roles — with MirTech Harvest Center and Brandt — help you in this new role at AgRevolution?
Stacy Anthony: I’ve worked in the farm equipment industry for over 30 years and have had tremendous experiences representing some of agriculture’s most well-known brands, including Deere, Claas and AGCO. My roles have included sales, management, ownership and, now, chief executive officer. Those experiences not only provided me with hands-on understandings of what it takes to build a business and effective teams, but also how to build constructive and trusted relationships with the farming communities they serve. I’m very excited to put those skills to use at AgRevolution and begin serving the Kentucky and southern Indiana area
What I see as the biggest attribute right now with AgRevolution is the support and vision that AGCO has for the growth and development of their products and services into this space.
They have adopted a very forward-thinking, cutting-edge mentality about growth and development into ag. And they’re doing it by fully focusing their entire organization, from bottom to top, on the farmer and providing the products and services they need. That’s a success in the backbone of any company when the mission aligns with the actions, and that’s what I see happening right now.
It’s a different AGCO than it was 20 years ago. It’s an AGCO with a new energy and new leadership. AGCO is investing a tremendous amount to grow their Fendt line in North America, but they’re also very committed to strengthening their Massey Ferguson, Gleaner, Challenger and GSI lines, as well. The idea is to ensure that AGCO provides highly competitive solutions to farmers across the entire ag spectrum. And they’re willing to go do some things to disrupt the market in a good way.
If you ask dealers today, they’d say AGCO’s leading the way in support, dealer development, aggressiveness and across their brand lineup to really come in and compete with Deere and Case IH.
So I think it’s going to be healthy for everybody, but there’s a new day dawning, with an embrace of technology, connectivity and sustainability and AGCO and AgRevolution are dedicated to being the industry leaders in those areas.
Looking at my past experiences, honestly the fundamentals are the same, but the culture is vastly different between the Midwest and the Delta, with the people and just how they do business. You would think inside the borders of the U.S., it would all be pretty much the same, but there are definitely regional differences.
There’s a different level of urgency in certain markets, and there’s a different level of what’s important to one region, whether it’s off-season reconditioning and repair vs. waiting until that impulse purchase moment that you just have to have it. Part of what I bring to this opportunity is an understanding of those differences and how best to adapt our business to meet those needs.
FE: What is the most important part of the business to monitor?
Anthony: Number one, for us, especially in start-up situations or transitional ones like what we’re going through, is establishing an employee culture that focuses on farmers, listens to the customer, and works tirelessly to meet their needs. AgRevolution will be characterized by that kind of forward-thinking, cutting-edge, customer-centric focus.
FE: What have you been doing to create the culture you want for the organization and working with employees on getting on the same page?
Anthony: We’ve been very selective about the people who have a passion for ag, people that really want to understand what it takes to be a trusted advisor, to be vertically integrated into that customer’s business and see it from his or her viewpoint. We are really trying to blend the best of the old with the best of the new. Sometimes an organization can get so blinded by only focusing on technology’s role that we forget about some of the basics and roots and the fundamentals of how to do business. And we’re trying to blend the best of each.
FE: What are your goals for this first year of the new operation?
Anthony: Number one is to establish the confidence and assurance into the marketplace that AgRevolution — and AGCO — is committed to the agricultural customer, that our brands provide the high-quality, smart solutions they need and that we are here to stay, both from a dealer and manufacturer standpoint. That’s the most important message we want to convey: we are uniquely focused on the agriculture industry and are absolutely committed to providing long-term, exceptional customer experiences to farmers throughout Kentucky and southern Indiana.
“Right now what 2020 has proven is that you’ve got to be flexible and we’ve got to think in ways that we’ve never ever thought before. It’s not a traditional way to be successful anymore…”
FE: And then beyond the expectation for the customers and reassuring them that you’re not going anywhere, anything else that you’re going to focus on for this first year?
Anthony: Of course, market share and sales growth is going to be a focus area and making sure that we elevate the parts and service support to customer expectations. Getting these first 6 stores up and off the ground and keeping customer retention, that’s going to be huge for us. We’ve got the people. We’ve got the territory. Growth will come naturally as we build confidence and assurance in the marketplace and forge that commitment of product and technology. And then later down the road, we’ll see what happens with acquisition, growth and future opportunities.
FE: How will the dealership be organized in relation to AGCO? Because AgRevolution is a subsidiary of AGCO, will the way you interact with the OEM be the same as any other AGCO dealer, or is it different because of that unique relationship?
Anthony: That’s probably what a lot of other AGCO and non-AGCO dealers are asking themselves. But it’s been very clear to us, and AGCO will communicate the same, that AgRev will have to follow the same rules and guidelines as any other dealer. The standards and expectations will be the same for AgRev as it is for any other AGCO dealer.
AGCO really wants AgRevolution to be run and employed by dealership people who know the business and are highly focused on our farming communities.
FE: Looking at the industry in general, how do you think technology is going to continue to change the dealership’s role and their relationship with the customer?
Anthony: Technology changes everything, and AGCO has now become one of the leading manufacturers in the design and implementation of technology in farming. And most importantly, now it’s about support, because everybody’s got technology, but supporting it and helping farmers to effectively leverage it is that last, critical step. AGCO has really stepped up with a lot of unique programming for both the manufacturer and dealer to support that customer’s need. They’re committed to technology innovation and supporting customer-connected distribution. And honestly, they strive to be that total solutions provider. That’s the mindset they’ve adopted, and I think it’s the mindset that is expected by customers today. It’s definitely what we intend on doing at AgRevolution.
FE: Because 2020 was such a weird year for business, will it be better or easier being a new organization going into this new year? Or do you think that will be a bigger challenge because you’re new?
Anthony: It could be both. Being new could be both sweet and challenging because it gives us the opportunity to introduce ourselves, and it also requires us to prove that we’re going to be what we say we’re going to be and do what we say we’re going to do. Certainly, we all hope that 2021 is a breath of fresh air compared to 2020, but I think there’s going to be some carryover into the first quarter of 2021. However, market fundamentals and trends point to strong demand and optimism on the part of US farmers as the country emerges from the pandemic and the economy is reset, so we’re bullish on 2021.
FE: As an industry, what do you think are the biggest challenges we’re going to face in 2021?
Anthony: I think complacency, honestly. What 2020 has proven is that we’ve got to be flexible and we’ve got to think in ways that we’ve never ever thought before. There’s not a traditional way to be successful anymore. We’ve just really got to be willing to call those audibles and be exactly what farmers need us to be on a weekly basis, a daily basis.