Editor's note: This story was orginally published on Oct. 24, 2016.
A year ago, United Suppliers and Land O’Lakes, Inc. brought their seed and crop protection products businesses together. It was a bold move in an industry climate of increasing competition and consolidation—Bayer and Monsanto, Dow and Dupont, Syngenta and ChinaChem, and others.
You can also read about what came next: Taking the next steps in the WinField United merger
Now, the business is making another move to solidify its national presence as an agricultural leader as it moves forward with a new overarching brand—WinField® United. We checked in with Mike Vande Logt, chief operating officer, and Brett Bruggeman, senior vice president of marketing and offer development, to learn more about the brand and what they’ve learned since the merger.
Q: What does this new brand—WinField® United—mean?
Brett: We’re looking forward and also respecting the success of our past. The name is symbolic for that. The word ‘Winfield’ is about the end game—winning in the field with our retailers and the farmers of tomorrow. United is all about uniting our retail network and using our combined talent and assets to build a model that brings unique value. We’ve said all along—we are better together. It’s become clearer what that means. Better means we will win in the field, and united, we win.
Mike: The brand is another important step in our merger. For the team, this merger and this brand have not just been about bringing together two names or even the best of two worlds. This has been about taking the best of what we have and building on the best to create something new and better.
Q: What does the brand stand for?
Brett: The brand stands for what the business is committed to delivering. We’re about three things—a passionate focus on customers; data-backed, insight driven agronomic excellence; and a commitment to advancing sustainability in our industry and our world. In our year together, we’ve spent a lot of timing really getting to know the two businesses and understanding where we have shared, as well as, complementary focus areas. These three hallmarks of the brand, surfaced as key to our path forward together.
Q: Where will people see WinField® United? And what about the WinField and United Suppliers brands?
Brett: This isn’t a wholesale conversion to the WinField® United brand. WinField® United will be taking the place of the transitional business name Winfield US. Beyond that, we’re taking a very thoughtful approach to how we evolve our offering. People will continue to see products and services branded with WinField and United Suppliers brands. Given the focus of the new brand on data-back, insight-driven agronomic insights, the ag technology portfolio—Answer Tech™ platform and the R7® Suite of Tools—will be among the first to carry the WinField® United brand. It will evolve from there.
Q: We’re seeing consolidation across the industry with merger announcements from Bayer and Monsanto, Syngenta and ChinaChem, Dow and Dupont and many others on the supply, retail and customer level. How does WinField® United fit?
Mike: First and foremost, given the landscape, we’re feeling fortunate that we came together when we did and that we’re a year into the merger. We’ve watched the consolidation continue across the industry, and we know that our model of supporting locally owned and operated ag retailers require us to come together in many ways where size and scale are necessary to compete moving forward. That’s what we’ve done.
Brett: Our unique spot is our model—the focus on helping the local retailer continue to succeed and compete against the national chains at the local level. Our passion is in helping them be that trusted advisor to their farmer customers. It’s our niche and we’re feeling great about progress this year and our potential.
Q: What are you excited about?
Mike: Right now, we have the right products, services and team to help our retailers and farmers achieve predictable outcomes in the field at a time when they really need to maximize their investments and count on the outcome. We have insights through data coming from the Answer Plot® Program and learnings from on-farm Innovation Trials. And, the insights are delivered through technology—The Answer Tech® platform that includes tools such as the R7® Tool Suite—this is what helps farmers make good decisions in the field.
Brett: I’m excited about the trifecta—new brand, new environment and new combined tools. We get the opportunity of a life time, and now we get to move forward as WinField® United.