In honor of National FFA Week, our team at Taranis is catching up and sitting down with employees who were former FFA members to learn more about what the organization means to them.
For Taranis newcomer, Cory Edge, the pursuit of a career in agriculture was never a question; however, the path he took to get to where he is today is one he says is paved with the support and experience of FFA.
“From a young age, I wanted to be a veterinarian, but as I got more involved in FFA, I began to think that maybe a small animal nutritionist would be a good fit. It really wasn’t until I was in college that I began to recognize that the networking and communication skills …my favorite part of FFA… that I built through my FFA experience were the foundation of what I wanted to do. That was when I switched my major to Ag Leadership. My degree from Texas Tech is a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Agriculture with a concentration in leadership,” he says, noting that as a member of the Taranis customer success team since December 2022, his love of helping connect the dots for the retailers he works with daily to his FFA opportunities.
“My day-to-day job encompasses a lot of customer-facing activities. I help our retail partners work through the growing season to identify insights and support our sales and product development teams with the information gained from our customer conversations. Our customer success team is the frontline for what is working and what isn’t,” he says.
Edge says that while he grew up on a farm and has been entrenched in the lifestyle since birth, his agronomic background was limited. While his passion has always been livestock, he didn’t have the deep rooted knowledge of agronomy like many other customer success representatives.
What he does have is an affinity for networking and relationship building that creates a customer-success-first attitude and says that mindset is always front-and-center at Taranis.
“Anyone can learn this tool, but being able to connect with our customers and help translate the information that we deliver into value for our customer and the farmers they work with is a pretty neat thing,” he says.
Growing up in central Indiana, multiple generations of Edge’s family planted the seeds that became his own deep roots in agriculture. The water for those roots: FFA.
Edge’s school district offered a Greenhand program, or agriculture education opportunity for junior high students, that helped to spark his interest in the program and build friendships. Both benefits he attributes to a successful agriculture program for any school.
“We had a younger instructor who had a lot of really fun and creative ideas to pull students into the program. We had members from all different backgrounds that were in FFA and our agriculture program, and I think because of that diversity, we were more engaged and successful as a chapter,” he says, adding that his high school program produced three state officers and several district officers. As for Edge, he says he was honored to serve as his chapter’s reporter his freshman year of high school, vice president his sophomore year and president his junior and senior years and also served as the District VII reporter and two-time District VII Sentinel, earning his FFA State Degree his senior year of high school.
“Some of my best friends in FFA lived in town and were interested in different things than I was, and that helped me to branch out, I think. I know that I know a lot more about horticulture, soils and ag mechanics than I would have if I didn’t have that group of friends.”
We’re told that there is even a YouTube video of the fun and creativity Edge and a fellow FFA member had when they orchestrated their own version of “STOMP” agriculture style. (So, we scoured the YouTube archives for this FFA video treasure!)
Today, Edge says that he is right where he belongs.
“There aren’t too many places where you can walk in the door and feel the excitement,” he says. “What we are doing at Taranis is revolutionary – we’re changing the way growers grow and retailers are able to work with them…if you can’t get excited about that, you probably don’t belong in agriculture! We all believe in what Taranis is doing, and it makes what we get to do everyday important to us personally.”
We couldn’t agree more, Cory!
When you sit down with the links in the crop season value chain to learn what worked and what didn’t, you can’t help but gain insight into management opportunities for the next growing season. That’s the goal of every Taranis retailer-farmer relationship and exactly what was highlighted in a recent CropLife hosted webinar.
With 30 years of experience helping growers find the solutions that work for them, Wilbur-Ellis Sales Agronomist, Paul Skiles, has seen his share of challenging growing seasons and done his part to put technologies and opportunities in the hands of growers when they need them most.
“I’ve been with Wilbur-Ellis for a little over three years now, and what drew me to the position was the amount of high-level service we provide across field-level activities,” Skiles shares. “That’s what excites me; I just want to be in the field with the grower, working to help make better decisions that increase yield and profitability.”
With more than 7,000 growers in five states, Landus Cooperative is leveraging the insights Taranis’ AcreForward Intelligence delivers to provide proactive solutions on a growing number of acres.
In the early summer of 2021, Landus signed up the first 200 acres that would benefit from Taranis AcreForward insights. By the end of the growing season, the stand count, disease and insect identification, and other insights had made that customer a Taranis believer. Landus launched #Grow23 with more than 50,000 acres enrolled with Taranis.