TECH WILL CHANGE, NEEDING GOOD PEOPLE WILL NOT
Apr 06, 2023
When I look back on my education and career, I can honestly say I had no clue I would end up here.
I went to technical school in Willmar, Minnesota and worked for a short period of time before I decided to continue my education at the University of Minnesota. After graduating with a degree in Agricultural Education, I worked for a seed company for a few years out of state.
When I decided to return to Minnesota, I started in the co-op system and haven’t left since. Most of my co-op career was with CHS and previous companies, then ultimately, UFC.
While at CHS, I got to know many local co-op leaders and even called on UFC as a customer. I eventually met Mitch Altermatt and discovered we had a lot of similar philosophies in common. Those discussions led me to my role as VP of Agronomy for the past two years.
The agronomy business is driven by data, technology and innovation. We have the opportunity to work with data and technology every single day, which is exciting and rewarding. But what excites me the most is working with great people every day: employees and customers.
It takes good, smart people to do what we do: advance information forward and make decisions in the best interest of our customers. Many of our people farm on the side, too. So, as employees and owners, we understand that when the cooperative succeeds, we all succeed.
For someone who is looking to work agriculture retail, there are always a lot of exciting opportunities including agronomy. We’re currently conducting a trial program with artificial intelligence and drone technology where AI can identify pests and diseases. And again, that technology requires people to analyze that information, apply it to a grower’s specific situation and make sound decisions based upon it.
Sometimes, there’s an impression that a cooperative doesn’t provide a lot of advancement opportunities, we need to fix that perception. If you want to work in our energy department and move to grain, agronomy or the front office, UFC is going to help you find your fit.
As the definition of education has evolved from a traditional four-year school to include technical and specialty schooling, training programs and apprenticeships, we’ve evolved in how we recruit, too.
If you have a doctorate, have a four-year degree or a high school education, we’re just looking for good people. That will never change.
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With our extended weather forecast showing below normal temperatures across much of UFC’s territory we know growers may not be waiting for “ideal” planting conditions. We suggest utilizing 6-24-6 starter fertilizer to help corn and soybeans deal with cooler planting temperatures.