Eye on Agribuisness
Carthage Ag Service
Manager: Ryan Tarwater
Company History: Carthage Ag Service was opened in 1995 as Tarwater Ag and Home Supply, when Ryan Tarwater opened the company. In 2001 Ryan sold out, and Tarwater became Carthage Ag Service. Ryan is the manager today.
Products and Services: “Eighty percent of our sales is in fertilizer and ag chemical and custom application, and of that, 70 percent is fertilizer. We are very heavily a service-based company. We are totally farmer relied. The farm and home division includes things like gates, T-posts, feed. We added propane in 2002, with brands Crescent, Tindle and Manipro. We deal in bulk. We blend fertilizer, and we can make any blend. We will send off soil samples and read the results and determine what the needs are.”
What is the biggest challenge today?
“Fertilizer costs. We can’t control it. Our sales tons this year were 50 percent less than last year. Fertilizer costs, even ag chemicals like Roundup doubled in price this year. The prices are beyond the threshold. You can’t pencil it out and make it work whether you’re working in crops, pasture or grass farming.”
What is your take on the prices of fertilizer?
“It’s all speculation. No one knows. But potash is mined out of the Earth. We used to pay more for the freight to get the potash here. I think it’s greed and monopoly. There are two people in the U.S. that mine potash. Don’t blame it on freight. So many people are blaming these prices on fuel. When crude oil was $140 a barrel we were selling Nitrogen for $420 a ton. But here recently when crude oil dropped to $92 a barrel, Nitrogen was $610 a ton. I think they’re using high gas prices as an excuse. The failing American dollar has had a huge impact. We’re exporting fertilizer to China and India and $1000/ton to them isn’t what it is to us.”