Pitchman John Madden proclaims, “Ace is the place” for hardware.

The 26-member West Coast-based Independent Agribusiness Professional (IAP) and Georgia-based Chem Nut, Inc., a stock held corporation of more than 200 members wants to be known as the independent place for farmers to purchases agrichemicals and fertilizers along with a variety of other services.

Chem Nut, headquartered in Albany, Ga. has joined with IAP based in Fresno, Calif. to create the largest organization of independent retailers in the U.S.

The combined agricultural receipts from members will approach more than $2 billion annually, according to IAP president Roger Carter and Chem Nut president Howard Corbett.

The two men discussed the alliance recently at the National Cotton Council's Beltwide Cotton Conferences in Anaheim, Calif.

The alliance, they said, will strengthen the volume buying power of their independent members, allowing them to compete even more aggressively in today's agrichemical and fertilizer markets.

“There is strength in numbers and we want to use this strength to maximize such things as rebates and profit opportunities,” said Corbett.

“Together, we will be even stronger over a larger geographical territory,” according to Carter. “This move puts us in the category of a national distributor with more crops and more buying power. It's the difference between a Wal-Mart and local department store.”

Chem Nut's base is from the Carolinas to Texas and IAP from the Texas through the Pacific Northwest.

IAP's membership totals 26 large independent agri-retailers while Chem Nut is a stock-held corporation of 200 active members representing about 260 retail locations.

“We are convinced this alliance will make all our members more efficient to better serve the needs of local growers,” he said.

Chem Nut was formed in 1974 by the Southern Peanut Warehousemen's Association. Chem Nut's members buy almost 50 percent of the nation's peanuts, plus they gin and market a volume of the cotton in the South and Southeast, according to Corbett.

“We also have members involved in selling crops and together we can exchange information from the West to the South and Southeast to better serve our farmer customers,” said Carter.

“This partnership will level the playing field in the agchem and fertilizer business and will be good for agriculture,” said Carter.