Farmers Shift From Gravity Irrigation to Center Pivot Systems: A Wall Street Transcript Interview with C. Schon Williams, Vice President and Senior Equity Research Analyst at BB&T Capital Markets

Wall Street Transcript

67 WALL STREET, New York - August 27, 2013 - The Wall Street Transcript has just published its Water Services Report offering a timely review of the sector to serious investors and industry executives. This special feature contains expert industry commentary through in-depth interviews with public company CEOs and Equity Analysts. The full issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.

Topics covered: Water Infrastructure Development - Irrigation and Metering Technology - Water Industry Consolidation - Regulatory Headwinds for U.S. Utilities

Companies include: Lindsay Corporation (LNN), Valmont Industries, Inc. (VMI), Deere & Co. (DE) and many more.

In the following excerpt from the Water Services Report, an expert analyst discusses the outlook for the sector for investors:

TWST: You are an agricultural analyst. Can you explain how agriculture overlaps with water?

Mr. Williams: Agriculture obviously uses water, and some of my machinery companies are involved in water. On the water side, I cover Lindsay (LNN) and Valmont (VMI), which are the number one and number two center pivot manufacturers in the world. Those two companies are my exposure to the water area.

TWST: You used the term "center pivot." Is that an irrigation system?

Mr. Williams: Exactly. About 14% of U.S. cropland is irrigated, and approximately half of those irrigated crops use a flood/gravity-fed system, while the other half uses center pivot irrigation.

TWST: What is driving growth for the irrigation companies?

Mr. Williams: There are two factors driving growth for the irrigation names right now. One is the long-term trend toward higher efficiency, lower costs, better yield consistency that is driving farmers both from switching from dry crops which involves no irrigation whatsoever to some form of irrigation. Also, farmers that are currently using flood irrigation systems are looking at switching to center pivot systems.

Flood irrigation essentially refers to steel pipes that are laid out in a field, and farmers turn it on and it literally floods the field. That is a very inefficient, very wasteful method of irrigating a field. Over time, what we have seen is that if you look at the mix of kind of gravity or flood irrigation versus center pivots or laterals, which is the other type of mechanized irrigation, there has been a very clear shift away from gravity irrigation. In 1998 or so, about 50% of U.S. crop that was irrigated was irrigated by gravity...

For more of this interview and many others visit the Wall Street Transcript - a unique service for investors and industry researchers - providing fresh commentary and insight through verbatim interviews with CEOs, portfolio managers and research analysts. This special issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.

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