We launched our MyAgData leadership series in 2019 to spotlight the people behind our brand.
Our series began with a look at women in agriculture as we introduced our CEO and co-founder Deb Casurella.
Now, it’s the boss’s turn. On a warm day in early June, we sat down for a little Q & A with our new CEO, Martin Barbre.
What made you want to work in the agriculture industry?
I was raised on a farm in Southern Illinois and have always wanted to remain connected to the farm. I have had the opportunity to both own and operate a successful farming operation and to be involved in other parts of agriculture. The connection to the farm has served me well in my endeavors outside of the farm.
Have you faced any challenges in the ag industry and if so, how did you overcome them?
The challenges that I have faced in the ag industry are all related to government regulation, both over-regulation and under-regulation. I have always worked with, and been a part of, Ag Associations that represent and work for the farmers best interests. I carried that philosophy when I went to USDA.
What accomplishment are you most proud of on your resume?
My family is my most proud accomplishment. Beyond that the changes I was able to effect while USDA RMA Administrator for crop insurance are what I’m most proud of.
Why do you believe it’s important to simplify the acreage reporting process for farmers, crop insurance agents and ag service providers?
We are on the cutting edge of technology in agriculture, yet we are archaic in how we report planted acreage to the USDA. Farmers and others need a more accurate and more timely way to process their data for USDA programs than to spend hours filling out maps at the local FSA office. MyAgData provides that.
What are your top three personal values?
Family values, honesty and being a friend to those in need.
Do you have a favorite quote or philosophy on life?
“Of all the ships I’ve sailed, Friendships brought me to the safest harbor.”
If you could change something in the ag industry, what would it be and why?
Agriculture in the U.S. is such a diversified industry. There are several great associations that represent farmers both on a general farm organization scale and a specific commodity association scale. If there was a way to create an ag association that represented all commodities without adding in all the side distractions (insurance and other things that general farm organizations add to their portfolios) it would be more effective in both our nation’s capital and our state houses as well.