When I was little, people would always ask me what my dad did for a living. I would always respond, beaming, and say, “He’s an agricultural consultant!”
“Oh, he must work in an office at a big firm,” they would say to me. I would quickly enlighten them on the exciting, at times grueling, strategic and all around “really cool” outdoor occupation that is agricultural consulting. No big, fancy offices, no corporate ladder to climb and no fancy suits. No — this kind of consulting was so much more intriguing in my mind.
I would often describe an ag consultant as a doctor for crops. These individuals live, breathe and sweat knowledge they’ve acquired over the years to better increase yield and profit for the farmers they work with. They attend countless meetings and continuing education events to stay up to date on everything they can to better inform their growers. They recommend the type and dosage of fungicides, herbicides and insecticides for each situation they encounter that needs them … and say don’t do anything when nothing needs to be done.
An ag consultant works hard. Consultants like Mark Nemec over in Texas (hey, that’s who I was talking about earlier!), who have thousands of acres of soybeans over several counties to check each year, may look like they’re running every which way from the months of March through October. Consultants like Mr. Bill Peele over in North Carolina, who have entire research farms dedicated to the continued analysis of what works and what could work for soybeans, are devoting their specialized craft to this industry where everyone is touched.
Consultants like Mr. Ray Young over in Louisiana, who have a lifetime of agricultural wisdom and efforts to show for it, continue to prove just how crucial the role of an ag consultant is. Consultants like those across the country and around the world, who have passed on their ever-changing and ever-important knowledge and skills onto their offspring and families, are inspiring others to get up and be world changers by way of agriculture.
The values and spirit ag consultants have are like nothing else. They share a bond with their farmers that is critical for making a good crop. The relationship between a consultant and his or her growers is unparalleled. It’s built on trust and faith they will each do the right thing. It’s a community. A friendship. A special touch.
Today, I still give that same, proud response my younger self did when asked what my dad does for a living. He will tell you repeatedly — as I’m sure every other ag consultant would — it’s the best job in the world. It takes a special kind of person to have that mentality when times get tough. I’ve learned that no matter what, a good ag consultant will put his grower first, treat every crop as if it’s their own and constantly look for ways to learn about and better the world in which we live.
No fancy offices or suits required.