How does a dairy farmer’s kid end up advising Prince Edward Island potato farmers on how best to grow spuds? If you’re Ryan Barrett, you get there by being curious, intelligent, adaptable, and an excellent communicator. Barrett now leads research and agronomy for the PEI Potato Board, and spends much of his time fostering cooperation and… Read More

I have written the introduction for this Agronomy Geeks episode three or four times, never quite being able to capture the right sense of what I’m trying to say. In case you missed the news, agronomist and adventurer Gregory Sekuliç has left his nearly decade-long post with the Canola Council of Canada and headed south… Read More

Jenneth Johanson farms in an atypical growing region at Lac du Bonnet, Man., about 100 km northeast of Winnipeg. She farms on productive land where the eastern Prairie meets the Canadian Shield, some of which is classified as organic soil: peat. Farming on peat has its challenges: it has low water holding capacity, it’s high… Read More

There are several recurring themes among some of the most interesting people I cross paths with in agriculture. One of the most fun is that many of us never set out with a particular role or job in mind, but instead just rolled with the opportunities in front of us. The other is travel; not… Read More

Claire Coombs’ first agronomy love might be soil, but teaching and extension work are likely a close second. Coombs is currently teaching at Algonquin College at Perth, Ont., in the Business Agriculture diploma program. Since March, it’s been an adventure in adaptability, as programs shifted from in-person to online nearly overnight. That change alone would… Read More

Farms aren’t as mobile as we’d like sometimes, and that can mean leaving your home base to pursue work and life somewhere else. Taking on a new challenge outside of where you grew up has benefits though; for example, expanding your social circle, or diversifying professional opportunities. For Michelle Baker, with Millstone Crop Services, based… Read More

Sometimes taking on a new role is the challenge you need to really dig in to the next stage of your career, but sometimes returning to an earlier role is a great way to inject excitement and joy, while allowing for mentorship and growth too. Paul Hermans has held several different positions with Pioneer (and… Read More

There’s a saying about decisions being only as good as the information they’re based on. The same could be said for agronomic decisions based on maps; the better the map, the better the decision. When Cory Willness, based at Naicam, Sask., got going in his agronomist role, most field maps (if they existed) were based… Read More

With 20 years of teaching and research achieved, Don Flaten says it’s time to retire. It’s a retirement well earned, as the soil scientist with the University of Manitoba has taught over a thousand students the ins and outs of soil, its importance, and revealed to many the complexity of nutrient interactions. Flaten has also… Read More

For some, farming is in their DNA — whether they like it or not. Even when they set out on a path very different from agriculture, some find their way back for one reason or another; and, frankly, agriculture is better for it. In this episode of Agronomy Geeks, host Lyndsey Smith is joined by… Read More

If you’re looking for a little snack and happen to be standing in a patch of weeds, it’s entirely possible the plants at your feet are edible — maybe even tasty. If you’re looking for help on which one to eat, you might be surprised to learn that Ontario’s weed specialist can tell you not… Read More

What will agronomy look like five or ten years from now? Will drones and automation have replaced agronomists and field walks? There’s no denying that technology definitely plays a larger role in his job than it used to, says Shane Thomas, agronomist with Yara Canada. From field mapping software, to variable rate capabilities, NDVI readings,… Read More

For anyone that’s ever done an agriculture diploma or degree, there’s likely a course that elicited groans when you’d see it on the schedule. For some it’s likely communications, for others maybe statistics, but for many it’s soil science. That was the case for Marla Riekman, which is ironic, given that she now serves as… Read More

How do you know when it’s time to set up shop on your own? And in this day and age of rapidly evolving precision agriculture and technology, how does a boots-on-the-ground agronomist carve her niche? Deb Campbell has addressed both those tough topics — the first, in 2012, after a few almosts and could-have-beens, and… Read More

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