Over the past week, I have had the opportunity to speak with AgriGold corn specialist, Brian Heisner. Brian has worked for Select Sires in the past, doing sales, marketing and guiding producers on what to breed. Over the last 19 years Brian has worked for AgriGold as a district sales manager selling seed corn and as of recently, soybeans. AgriGold is owned by the third largest seed company in the world, AgReliant.
As I interviewed with Brain, I asked him several questions to give a broad overview of what it is like to be a seed sales man. When I asked him how much has changed since time he started, he said “it has changed a tremendous amount.” A bag of corn used to be only seventy dollars a bag and there were no traits or treatments like there are today. It was all conventional. However, he sees there being more treatments, traits, higher yield/performance and different chemistry for soybeans in the future.
A typical day for a Corn specialist, which is AgriGold’s way of calling a seed salesman a district sales manager (DSM), would be checking emails and touching base with growers (farmers) first thing in the morning. Also he may walk fields depending on the time of year. In the spring, he may be looking at re-plant issues but generally two weeks after pollination, he walks fields with growers to check the hybrids and see how they are performing. When the corn begins to tassel, sometimes Brian has to go on service calls to make fungicide recommendations.
There is more than just a thing or two Brian likes about his job. He really enjoys the freedom of not pushing the clock all the time and making his own schedule. Also, he likes being able to work with farmers. He has had the opportunity to build relationships with them and make friendships but all in all he likes not doing the same thing every day. In the spring he plants plots and harvest them in the fall and walks fields and doing several tasks throughout the year.
When I asked about when Brian sells the majority of the seed he stated, “Around the middle of July is when I start and about 85-90% of it is wrapped up by January 10th.” During all of that time though, that is when Corn Specialists work on inventory and doing collections.
Seed prices are high because of the new traits and treatments that are available which ties into the next topic. I asked Brian, what are farmers wanting to get out of the seed? The most common responses he receives are consistency, yield, standablilty, dry down, and strong emergence.
It was a great experience interviewing Brian to get more of a grip on what a seed salesman does. There has been a few changes in the seed industry recently and I was curious to see what a corn specialist had to say on where it is going in the future.
My name is Jared Ekstrand. I am senior at Western Illinois University majoring in Agriculture Business with a minor in Agronomy. Growing up in Yates City, IL, I showed cattle for nine years and I have a small family farm. I have always had a passion for agriculture and plan to pursue a career in the Ag industry.