07 Dec Owner Feature: Roy Young
Flexibility, diversity key to retailer’s ability to service every acre
Roy Young was a farmer in the 1980s, a time of massive challenges the memories of which are indelibly etched in just about every farmer’s mind who emerged from the Farm Crisis with his or her farm business intact. Lessons Young learned then are part of his philosophy in leading Land View, Inc.
Young has been part of Rupert, Idaho-based Land View since the company was started by his and another farm family in 1984. Later, he would take the reins of Land View, now a full-service ag retailer working with growers in southern Idaho, Nevada, eastern Oregon, and Utah.
“We pride ourselves on being independent. We’ve always hung our hat on respect for the farmer, partnering with good businesspeople and helping them continue to be successful however we can. We’ll continue to do that,” Young said. “Our business has changed a lot, and we are always looking to embrace change so we’re always there for our customers.”
Land View, Inc.
A balanced approach to a diverse customer base
Land View works with a range of farms and livestock operations. Southern Idaho is home to a diversity of operations, from small produce and crop farms to “mega-dairies” that moved into the region 20 to 30 years ago. That’s led Land View to develop a diversity of ventures — like its dairy feed division — to stay “on the acre” with its customers.
“We service some mega-farms, a tremendous number of mid-sized farms and still we have quite a few smaller customers like specialty crop growers. Our sweet spot is the mid-sized farms of around 1,000 to 3,000 acres,” Young said. “We have diversified our company quite a bit to service that acre whether it’s through agronomic service or livestock feed.”
Young knows the agronomists and specialists that are trusted advisors to his customers have a lot of expertise and experience at the acre level. So he strives to not replace but offer his company’s expertise as a complement to others on whom growers rely to optimize production and revenue.
“If a farm is successful, it’s because it’s managed by a good businessperson, usually with substantial expertise. For us to send people in to disrupt what they’re doing where they’re already successful and established and financially doing well is a real disservice. That’s not what we’re about,” Young said. “What we are about is finding out what they’re doing to be successful and offering suggestions to enhance that.”
Navigating ever-evolving cost structures and Mother Nature
The recent costs of doing business have challenged Land View. Price pressure has pushed Young’s efforts to make necessary adjustments. He’s called upon decades of working in the cyclical marketplace of agriculture, especially relating to things like fertilizer and crop protection products. This experience has helped Land View and its customers manage through times of tight product supply and sharply higher prices.
“I remember what we were paying on our credit line at the bank during the farm crisis. Today, we’re facing inflationary effects on cash flow and carrying costs, so our credit department has had gone to herculean efforts to make sure we are carrying what our customers need, even with these unprecedented cost increases,” Young said. “I think we’ve seen some demand destruction as growers cut back on some applications. They’re great businesspeople, know their costs of production and what it takes to run a business. Knowing those costs will help us all make it through these times of high costs.”
Though Mother Nature “controls it all,” there are ways that Young and his grower partners can stay ahead with similar awareness on growing conditions that contribute to optimized crop and livestock output. Regions like southern Idaho depend on specific water resources, for example. Some of those resources are relatively known commodities, and progressive growers account for them in planning crop plantings. Young prioritizes similar awareness so Land View’s team has the products and service capabilities ready for whatever its grower partners decide based on what they know on things like water availability.
“Decisions are made because of water availability every month. Cropping intentions sometimes change at the last minute based on how long into the summer they’ll have water. When there’s more water available, some growers may plant corn instead of barley. And that’s a big deal for us,” Young said. “When we see those changes coming, we try to really support our growers and be flexible. We want to always be able to respond to different demands based on growers making decisions like these.”
Adapting in 2023 and beyond
While Young — an original owner of Aligned Ag Distributors — sees the supply chain disruptions for crop protection products and fertilizer easing slightly, they’ll remain a challenge through 2023, contributing to carrying costs for him and production costs for his customers. That’s where his ownership of Alligned Ag Distributors will continue to play a major productive role for Land View.
“In Aligned Ag, we’ve created a vehicle that’s been very important to us. It continues to help us be sustainable in our industry, not just economically being able to compete with larger multinational companies but having peers together to work through concerns as a group. That’s so valuable to us,” Young said. “It’s done more than we originally envisioned, and we’ll continue to rely on Aligned Ag for a competitive edge and place to network with like-minded businesspeople with common goals of service to agriculture.”