Agland Co-op Inc.: Supporting South Dakota Communities with Full-service Agronomic Assistance and Technology-driven Solutions

Agland Co-op Inc. (Agland) offers more than agricultural product sales and service. The South Dakota-based cooperative strives to be a business partner for each member, helping producers maximize opportunities and achieve goals. For almost 75 years Agland has developed custom field prescriptions through professional agronomy consultation.

“One thing you will find at Agland, and nowhere else, is our team,” shares Candyce Kotalik, general manager of Agland. “We’re interested in more than just selling you something. Our agronomy consultants and managers have more than 120 years of combined experience. When they are not out scouting fields or visiting customers, our team is in training in order to prepare themselves to address the changing needs on your farm.”

Agland began supporting small communities in 1939 in Parkston, S.D. “We were founded as the Parkston Co-op Association by a group of farmers,” recalls Kotalik. “Over the years, as the customer base expanded, profits were eventually distributed back to our member owners and we’ve been 100-percent customer-owned ever since.”

The cooperative has grown to serve Parkston, Delmont, Ethan and Armor, S.D. “We’ve expanded into energy bulk fuel programs, fertilizer operations and convenience stores throughout the surrounding communities,” explains Kotalik. “Over time, we’ve built two large, state-of-the-art agronomy facilities and a bulk-fuel site in Parkston, in addition to our smaller retail shops. We go where the big-box stores won’t.”

Coming Home and Growing the Cooperative

Kotalik joined the Agland team just under two years ago. “My background is in finance,” she shares. “I was a regional finance manager and covered Tennessee to Michigan for Crop Production Services for several years before I came to Agland. When Agland recruited me to be the next general manager, I couldn’t wait to come home, because I’m a South Dakota native.”

Kotalik fits right in with the team, and she has since focused on growing Agland by using technology to its advantage and growing the cooperative’s sales force. “We’ve changed our marketing to focus on electronic avenues,” she says. “Each week we contact our customers with an agronomy newsletter featuring videos of our sales team offering advice. We are also the only retailer in the area doing live Internet crop scouting. We publish those videos to YouTube so customers can actually see our scouting session in the field.”

One reason that Kotalik meshes well with the team is her shared customer-oriented mentality. “It’s all about making things more convenient for our customers,” shares Kotalik. “Today everyone leads busier lives, so it’s much more useful to just jump on the web and pull up a video.” Agland has experienced a wealth of positive feedback from customers relating to online crop scouting access. “Our customers are really gravitating toward this,” adds Kotalik.

More Bang for a Buck

Agland ensures that its customers truly get what they pay for. “Our fertilizers offer more bang for a buck by withstanding run off and promoting environmental stewardship,” shares Kotalik. “We provide lots of free information and support on a daily basis. Every service or product we offer is designed to support an operation, from custom fertilizer applications and treatments to bulk fuel delivery, mobile tire repair that’s on-call 24/7, and weekly videos and emails.”

The cooperative also has its own proprietary line of dry fertilizer products. “PowerBlend is one of our bestselling fertilizers,” details Kotalik. “It’s a homogenous product with a composition similar to dap; however, it’s enriched with sulphur and zinc and treated with a stabilizer to prevent product loss in the field. Less waste is more money in our customers’ pockets.”

PowerBlend gives farmers the desired coverage needed. “Every grain has the necessary micronutrients,” explains Kotalik. “This product can withstand weather conditions and stay within the root zone much better than others on the market. We also offer Agland Secure Coat, which is our proprietary seed treatment. This product helps plants germinate while young, protects the seed line and helps the plant to grow faster and leads to better startup production.”

Nearly 75 years since inception, Agland has come to differentiate itself through innovative products and a high level of customer service and support. “In the years ahead, we’re looking to expand our footprint, surpassing the area we currently serve,” admits Kotalik. “We’ll do that by remaining at the forefront of technology and increasingly becoming a better resource for our customers. I see online field GPS and mapping as the future where the customer can view his field information online anytime. It’s a couple of years out, but it’s going to be really big.” Agland Co-op Inc. continues to grow operations while remaining a trusted business partner and supporter of the local producers.

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