It’s human nature to think ahead. We think about what we’re going to have for supper, and what we’re going to do for the coming weekend. In the seed industry, now is the time we start thinking about our plan for success for the upcoming year. We think about varieties we’re going to plant, how much seed we think we’ll sell, plans for plots, plans for field days, programs, and financing, and the list goes on and on.
We make these decisions based on how the current harvest is going and what we think acreage will do next season so that we’re prepared to meet our farmer’s needs with both seed supply and information in order to help them be successful. We not only think about it, we also write it down and get ready to take action. This makes the decision of what to have for supper sound pretty easy (if you ask me).
As a sales rep for Monsanto, now is the time that I’m traveling around to meet with the seed retailers in my territory to set up a plan for the coming year. We start off by talking about the past year, we catch up on the success of the crop we’re currently harvesting, and we look at what we can do to work together to plan for success for 2011. Because our farmers purchase their seed through our retailers, it’s my job to have the type of relationship with our retailers where we’re comfortable talking to each other about both the good and more challenging parts of the year so that we can build on and learn from our experiences. The retailers tell me about their goals for the coming year, along with potential challenges, so that I can be prepared to support them so that as a team, we can better work with our farmers.
What may be surprising about my job is that along with working on expectations with our seed retailers, I ask them for their expectations of me. We start off by setting a goal and then talk about how we can work together to achieve that goal. Being a seed retailer for us is more than just selling our seed; it’s being a partner with us. This year, for example, the retailers and farmers that I work with have been excited about the performance of our Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans and our VT Triple Pro and SmartStax corn hybrids. Because of the performance of these products and the communication I’ve received about the needs from our customers, I’m working to obtain early order commitments to ensure that we secure the seed supply our market needs for next year’s planting season. Being a sales rep is undeniably a two-way street between us and the customer, built upon understanding and mutual respect. It’s a partnership that I am proud to be a part of.
For all of our farmers, while they’re driving their combines and getting crops out of the field, they can take pride in the hard work they’ve put in this season. They can also rest assured that we’re already planning for next Spring and looking at how we’re going to be working alongside them as they do what they do best: feed the world.
Katie Robertson is a Monsanto sales representative in Oklahoma.