When we launched our leadership series, we did so with the intention of spotlighting the people behind our brand. Why? Because consumers are more likely to trust a company when they know more about the team behind the brand. Our series began with a look at women in agriculture as we introduced our CEO and Co-founder Deb Casurella. Then, we dug into life on the farm as we spotlighted Jeremy Wilson, our Project Manager and Co-Founder. This week, we are cultivating some thoughts and insight on MyAgData from the perspective of Rex Garthaus, our Field Technology Analyst. Much like what we did with Deb and Jeremy, we sat down with Rex and harvested some questions about his experience and passion for agriculture.
Here is some information about Rex’s life in the agriculture industry.
What made you want to work in the agriculture industry?
I grew up in a small town surrounded by all ag. So, from the time I was old enough to go with my neighbor who farmed, I was in that farm truck headed to the farm. I would ride on the tractor with him and even stand in the corner of the combine cab all day. So, I guess it’s in my blood and I wanted to see how I could help make things easier.
Have you faced any challenges in the ag industry and if so, how did you overcome them?
Growing up in a small town in central Illinois, and not getting very far away from home, left me pretty shy and thinking everything revolved around corn and beans. After becoming a Territory Manager, I had to travel and see many different things and realized there was a lot more out there than what the little town in Central Illinois offers. Working in the agriculture industry also helped me overcome my fear of speaking to people that I haven’t met before.
What accomplishment are you most proud of on your resume?
Selling precision ag equipment at a local dealer gave me the skills to actually start working for the manufacturer. I was an Ag Leader dealer for 8-9 years learning the system and understanding all parts of it. Then, I accepted the territory manager position to cover all of Illinois and Wisconsin for Ag Leader Technology. The territory manager job helped me acquire new skills – whether it was just going up to talk to someone and the ability to manage a large dealer network and help it grow from year to year. It was pretty exciting to see the growth and appreciation of the dealers.
Why do you believe it’s important to simplify the acreage reporting process for farmers, crop insurance agents and ag service providers?
After years of working with farmers, I have seen firsthand the frustrations. If you have worked with farmers for very long you will know they are procrastinators. So, making it simple and quick for them will help them get things done in a timely manner. This will also carry over to the crop insurance agent and help relieve some stress in their workday also. Service providers already use that data and getting this type of thing back to the producer sooner will make it all the better.
What do you think sets MyAgData apart from other ag data companies?
Our team has built the company from the farming side to the insurance side. Because of the experience they bring, they know and understand the struggles and the moving parts that it takes to get it all in one simplified resource. They have been in the lines at the FSA office pointing and writing on maps and know that precision ag data helps streamline the process and make it more accurate. On the crop insurance side, our team also knows there needs to be an easier way for agents to get the information into their systems and reported to the FSA office in the same manner.
What are your top personal values?
Treat others as you would want to be treated. Give 110% and do your job to the best of your ability.
Do you have a favorite quote or philosophy on life?
Live your life like it’s the last day. But, always do what you can to improve yourself for tomorrow.
If you could change something in the ag industry, what would it be and why?
Education. There is not enough education in the ag industry that explains what precision ag is or what it can do to help. People are not listening to what can be done with precision ag to help their bottom line. They look at it as an expense and something to clutter up a cab of a tractor. These tools can bring farmers and agent a lot of value if they invest the time to understand how to use these tools to their fullest.
What advice would you give to a potential client who is seeking the right cloud-based data system to streamline their acreage reporting needs?
When selecting an acreage reporting service, search for one that will let you do it the way you want. If you want to point and click and report by CLU’s, let that be your choice. But, if you want to report by using precision ag data to get the most accurate report possible, it’s smart to choose a system that is proven to use all the technology you can to help report with the best of your knowledge.