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12SEEDWORLD.COMJOHNLATHAMiscontinuinga65-yearamilytraditionsellingseedx14abusinesshisgrandatherbeganin1947whenhesawaneedoranindependentseedcompanyinAlexanderIowa.TodayLathamHi-TechSeedshasgrowntoaccommodate250dealersand45stamembersinseveralstates.Butitx19snoaccidentthatLathamcontinuestogrow.Intodayx19senvironmentorapidlyluctuatingmarketsittakesshrewdplanningtoorecastseeddemandandLathamtakesthisseriouslyinhisbusiness.x1cWex19vebeenabletochangeovertheyearstostayocusedonourcustomersandwhattheyneedx1dsaysLatham.Thebiggestchangeinhiscompanyx19sterritoryinrecentyearshesaysisthedramaticincreaseintheamountocornbeinggrown.x1cWex19rereallykindoknownorsoybeansx1dhesays.x1cButwithallthecornbeinggrownwesawthatwasabusinessweshouldbeaparto.In2004wegotintothecornbusinessandwex19vebeenabletogrowthatbusinesseveryyearsince.x1dThiskindoadaptabilityandlong-termplanningstemmingromacustomer-centeredapproachtodoingbusinessisincreasinglykeyorbothindependentandcommercialseedsellerswhenitcomestoorecastingyearlycustomerdemand.Long-TermPlanningx1cFormostousintheseedworldespeciallywhenitcomestonewvarietiesyouhavetoplanthreeyearsoutx1dsaysMichaelForecastingtheFutureWithNorthAmericancommoditymarketsasunpredictableastheweatherandanincreaseintheuseoftechnologyimpactingthebusinesslandscaperetailersandseedcompaniesarehavingtokeepupwithchangingtrendsinordertosurvivex14andreachingouttogrowersininnovativeways.MazzoccodirectoroVerdantAgriBusinessConsultants.x1cForthelargeramiliesocompanieslikeMonsantoandDuPonttheywillhaveoptimizationmodelsorhowmuchoeachvarietytobegrowingatwhatstagebasedonhowmuchtheywanttohaveavailableinthemarket.Itx19samulti-yearplanninghorizon.x1cThesmallercompanieshavelessterritorythattheyx19retryingtocoversotheyx19regenerallytryingtogrowwhatevertheycanorthenextyearx1dheadds.Howeverevensmallercompaniesidemandpeaksornewvarietiesneedtoactorintheextratimerequiredtoproduceandhavelargequantitiesothosevarietiesinstock.Despitealltheplanningorecastingutureseeddemandisalwaysx1cabest-guessscenario.x1dSomepartsotheprocessareentirelyoutotheseedretailerx19shandsnomatterhowcareullytheyselectandstockvarietiesbasedontrendstheyobserveandcustomerorders.x1cItisdifculttoorecastwhattherightproductsaregoingtobex1dsaysLatham.x1cYoux19vegottobringoutyourcrystalballandfgureoutwhatthetrendswillbeintheyearsahead.Thatx19sthebiggestchallengeintheseedbusiness.x1dKeepinginTouchThatx1ccrystalballx1dtomanyseedretailersiscomprisedomanythingsincludingmarketreportsandederaldatax14andincreasinglycommunicationstechnology.Lathamx19ssalesrepresentativescarryiPadssendoutclientsurveysanduse