Corteva Agriscience knows the best advice for retailers comes from your peers. With that in mind, we’ve decided to showcase retailer ambassadors to introduce you to some of your colleagues. Our goal is to share their stories and advice about nutrient management and how they help their customers make the best decisions for their farms.
Over the coming months, we’ll profile a few specific retailers and bring you some of their insights from the field.
Joe Dee works as an agronomist at Ag Partners Coop in Morristown, Minnesota. He’s been in the ag retail business for just over eight years since graduating with a degree in agronomy from Iowa State University. Joe grew up on a dairy farm in Iowa and became interested in agronomy after winning a state FFA competition as a teenager.
When talking with our retailer ambassadors, two of the first questions we asked included: What do you love most about your job and what are the biggest challenges you face?
When asked what he loves most, Joe responded enthusiastically, “what I really love is working with growers. We work with quite a few who are very progressive. They try hard to maximize their yields and always push themselves to do better season after season. I really enjoy working with growers who want to challenge themselves and challenge me, as an agronomist, to help them be better.”
On the opposite side of the coin, what Joe loves is also, in a way, what challenges him the most at work. He explained, “What keeps me up at night is thinking about how I can serve the grower the best way I can. If you can’t help the farmer, who can they rely on? When things are at their worst, they can come to you and make sure something can get done.”
Joe said he knows the growers he works with are striving to do more with less in an increasingly challenging industry. He told us it’s his responsibility to help them do that in a cost-effective way.
To assist customers with their goals, Joe focuses on good nutrient management practices. Nitrogen is one of the most expensive inputs farmers make each year. Joe advises they protect that investment with a proven nitrogen stabilizer.
“I’m on the grower’s side. If I recommend a product, I need to know that it works, because it’s my reputation on the line. N-Serve® and Instinct NXTGEN® nitrogen stabilizers have been proven. They’re products that actually do what they say they’re going to do,” Joe explained. “Nitrogen deficiency is probably the most common nutrient deficiency growers face, especially with the weather events that continue to become more extreme and adverse. Nitrogen stabilizers are one way to combat that. They’re an insurance policy to say, ‘hey my nitrogen is going to be where I need it when I need it.’”
Even though Joe sees the benefits of products like N-Serve® and Instinct NXTGEN® nitrogen stabilizers, he said his customers don’t always agree. Farmers will sometimes push back on the idea of using stabilizers.
“Most of the objections occur in the spring of the year. How we handle those objections is by explaining when the ground thaws in spring, a lot of moisture is moving through the soil profile. That can lead to significant nitrogen loss. So, we still need to protect it then, just like we do in fall,” he said.
Joe is certainly not alone when it comes to skepticism from customers. Sometimes nitrogen is not the limiting factor when it comes to a poor corn yield and that can make it difficult to see the advantages of using a stabilizer.
If other retailers find themselves in a similar situation, Joe emphasizes it’s important to stay the course when it comes to nutrient management. “My advice is to continue to use nitrogen stabilizers. I’ve noticed growers will start to second guess themselves after using a product for awhile. They’ll ask if they really need to be using it. I’ll tell them ‘there’s a reason your corn is staying green longer. There’s a reason your average yield increase is 7%.
Farmers are dealing with so much uncertainty these days. From the unpredictable weather to market volatility to a global pandemic, it can be difficult to know the right steps to take. Joe understands it’s his job to help navigate the uncertainty to ensure customer success. It’s a challenge, but he thrives in it.
Keep track of MaxFacts in the coming months to hear more from Joe and meet the rest of our retailer ambassadors.
1 Wolt, J. D. 2004. A meta-evaluation of nitrapyrin agronomic and environmental effectiveness with emphasis on corn production in the Midwestern USA. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems. 69: 23–41.
Instinct NXTGEN® is not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Do not fall-apply anhydrous ammonia south of Highway 16 in the state of Illinois. Always read and follow label directions.