On Dec. 2, I talked with farmer/dealer Dave Morris about his farming operations in southeastern Minnesota. Since then, I’ve been talking with Monsanto people who support what Dave does on his farm. Some help from more than a thousand miles away; others, like Bruce Drager, are somewhat closer.
Bruce is Monsanto’s Technology Development Representative (TDR) for southern Minnesota, and his responsibilities include working closely with Dave Morris. “I’m a technical resource for Dave,” Bruce says, “and I provide support for both his seed dealership and farming operations.” Dave is one of Bruce’s “cooperators,” meaning that he provides a testing area for new seed with new technology and new germ plasm before it’s commercialized in the marketplace.
That help is technical in nature, but the support and learning goes in both directions. Farmers like Dave Morris learn about and test new seed and farming technologies, while Bruce learns what technology and system works best in a given situation.
Bruce received a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Minnesota State University – Mankato, with a double major in Management and Marketing and a minor Finance. He joined DEKALB (later acquired by Monsanto) in 1990 as a regional agronomist. In 1999, he accepted a position working across the western United States. Later, he returned to work in Minnesota as an Agronomy Systems Manager and transitioned to his current role in Monsanto.
Like most jobs in agriculture, there’s no such thing as a “typical day” for a TDR like Bruce. “I’m involved in a lot of plot work,” he says. “I test new seeds in both corn and soybeans and I work across the range of Monsanto’s business. So, whether it’s corn, beans, chemistry, or traits that we’re testing, I’m working closely with our farmers and dealers as well as our team in Technology Development.”
Bruce tests new products and technologies, evaluating how they perform in different environments across the area he covers. “With the experience I gain at the field level,” he says, “I provide input on where and how products and technologies should be positioned in the marketplace. This process requires understanding of local and regional agronomic practices, climate, soil conditions and an array of other factors that are critical to the success of a farmer’s operations.”
His work is a critical part of the support the company provides to help farmers like Dave Morris be successful.
You can read the original Dave Morris post here.