The 2014 growing season will be my 4th year as a seed seller. Having grown up on a family farm, I’m no stranger to agriculture or farming. As I continue to work in this business, I continually seek to clarify and define the values that I (and ultimately my business) stand upon.
Recently I printed updated business cards and put a tagline on them which, I believe, reflects who I am and how I try to approach agriculture.
Serving growers with integrity, value, and quality in mind.
It’s a simple statement, but a powerful reminder for me of the purpose and approach I take to business.
To borrow a phrase from Cargill, integrity means to “Do the right thing, regardless of the consequences.” It is of utmost importance to me that my character remains intact no matter what stands in front of me. I will (and have!) happily lost sales because I am upfront with people. There are many practical ways that I try to live this out: If a variety isn’t a good fit, I don’t have supply of seed, there are quality issues with what has been produced, what treatment or other products I recommend, etc. My biggest customer is my own family – I refuse to treat other customers any differently than I would expect or how I would treat them.
When a person thinks about value, cheap isn’t usually a word to describe it. You can buy cheap pants at Wal-Mart, but are they a good value? Now, to be clear, we strive to offer fair and competitive pricing for our products and services. Value for us means providing the right services, recommendations, and products to help growers with higher yield. I will write more about how we plan on delivering this value in another post.
We carefully select the companies and vendors to work with based on quality. How reputable is the product? Is the vendor honest? Do they follow up on commitments? What are their standards for quality? I believe wholeheartedly that our brands fit this profile. Come with me to Peterson Farms Seed headquarters, and learn about the quality checks they run several times per hour on soybeans during conditioning. Sit down with me and Bruce Due (our area agronomist for Mycogen) and watch this teacher turned agronomist (with more than 25 years field experience) tell you about the research he does for growers.
Serving growers with integrity, value, and quality in mind. It’s the approach I take with my family and customers, and ultimately why I am in the seed business.