Stine’s Ask the Agronomist blog is your source to the latest information from our expert team, including advice and insight on field practices, product recommendations, planting and harvest updates, new technologies, crop management, innovative research and information about how to keep your farm operation running smoothly year round. 

  •  Image

    Celebrating Women in Ag

    March 28, 2018

    Posted by Stine Seed in Stine News

    March marks two special celebrations for our industry — Women’s History Month and National Agriculture Week. Women serve a vital role in agriculture and are proven leaders in the field. In fact, more than 969,000 women farm in the United States, and they represent 31 percent of all farmers in the country. Women farmers operate more than 301 million acres of farmland, with an economic impact of $12.9 billion, and their influence in the industry doesn’t stop there. Whether she’s an educator, a lawyer, a scientist or a marketer, she can build a career in the agriculture industry. STEM careers also make up a number of different roles in agriculture. At Stine, for example, we have roles in our lab and seed production department that align with STEM. We also have women agronomists who serve as independent sales reps or regional sales agronomists, as well as those who are in sales support roles. At Stine, we celebrate their contribution to the ag industry and understand that our company would not be what it is today without their influence. Get to know a few of the strong, instrumental women on our team.

    And check back tomorrow for Part 2 of our Celebrating Women in Ag article as we feature more influential women of Stine.  

    Megan McEnany, Production Assistant

    What is your role with Stine? How long have you been with the company, and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?
    I started working for Stine in the production department in November of 2016. My responsibilities include approving and recording corn and soybean shipments, conditioner seed transfers, invoices and settlements and working with our sales team. I am also responsible for recording and tracking wholesale and parent seed purchases for internal and external use. I assist with different aspects of our marketing and production programs, and I help organize the next season’s product lineup. I am responsible for making all the corn trait and treatment tags that are attached to our corn bags. And, when the need arises, I assist the research department with correlating data.

    Why is Stine a good fit for you?
    I consider myself very fortunate to be a part of the production department; it provides me with the opportunity to be involved and work with various parts of the company, which allows me insight and the opportunity to continue to learn about agriculture on a daily basis. One thing I like about Stine is that, in comparison to some larger seed companies, we might be considered small, but we still have a continuously growing global reach.

    What drew you into an occupation in agriculture?
    There are many reasons that I chose to pursue a career in agriculture. Both of my parents come from agriculture backgrounds; my dad was an agriculture educator for 38.5 years, and my mom grew up on a dairy farm in northeastern Iowa and is currently the Story County Farm Bureau membership coordinator. Agriculture has always been extremely important to my family. Out of seven children, including myself, six of us (five are women) have chosen careers in the ag industry. Having been involved in 4-H and FFA increased my interest in agriculture and the career opportunities that this industry has to offer. During high school, I was privately contracted to rogue and detassel seed corn fields. The summer after I graduated from high school, I had the opportunity to travel to Thailand for two months as a World Food Prize 2013 Borlaug-Ruan intern, working for the AVRDC World Vegetable Research Center. I attended Iowa State University, where I received my Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Studies, with a minor in Agronomy. While at ISU, I worked for an on-campus greenhouse, doing research on corn, soybeans and sorghum. I also had opportunity to work as a teaching assistant in the College of Ag. Before graduating, I worked with a private central Iowa research group doing trait evaluation of corn and soybeans, tissue sampling and insect identification. All of these experiences offered me insight on the different opportunities the agriculture industry has to offer.

    Why should women consider a career in agriculture?Women should consider a career in agriculture because it offers a broad selection of career choices that all aid in the growth and promotion of the agriculture industry.

    What’s your one piece of advice for a woman who’s considering a role in the Ag industry?
    My advice for any woman interested in working in the ag industry is to not take every situation to heart. Somethings are simply out of your control, but how you handle them is what counts.

    Renae Schmidt, Sales Support

    What is your role with Stine? How long have you been with the company, and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?
    Sales Support. I have been with Stine for more than a year now in sales and marketing. I get to support the sales team out in the field — from helping with transactions to finding solutions to problems with accounts to being a liaison between the field and office operations.

    Why is Stine a good fit for you?
    I have a passion for agriculture, love working with people and the Stine farm is right down the road from our home.

    What drew you into an occupation in agriculture?
    I grew up on a family farm in northwest Iowa where we raised row crops and livestock. Doing chores every day and seasonal things like riding beans, picking up rocks and scooping out pens were required. Our family was very involved in 4-H, FFA and raising our own livestock projects. As I got older, I realized the importance of those lessons growing up and those foundational farm production experiences. Through FFA, I participated in numerous contests like public speaking and job interviews, as well as serving as an Iowa FFA state officer, traveling the state promoting leadership in agriculture and getting to meet leaders in many types of companies within the ag Industry. The networking and experiences I gained through internships and the College of Ag at Iowa State only increased my desire to get my B.S. in ag education, with an emphasis in agronomy. 

    Why should women consider a career in agriculture?There are so many options. Whether your passion is animal science, agronomy, education, journalism, business, chemistry or law, there is and will always be a need for positive, talented people within the ag industry. Women have just as many opportunities as men, so go for it!

    What’s your one piece of advice for a woman who’s considering a role in the ag industry?
    Get involved, network and gain a variety of experiences. Ask questions and be willing to learn from wise people who go before you. I still hold on to two key lessons I learned in my first sales job: 1.) don’t assume, and 2.) always carry a pen — you never know when a customer will give you an order!

    Abby Nichols, ISR

    What is your role with Stine? How long have you been with the company, and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?
    I am an independent sales representative, covering a few counties south of Indianapolis. I started with Stine as an ISR in November 2016. My responsibilities include growing relationships and finding out what a farmer’s needs and goals are and how Stine can assist. I then work with the farmer to match up Stine corn and soybean genetics on their acres so that they can be profitable and take their farming operation in the way that they desire.  

    Why is Stine a good fit for you?
    My path to Stine is a little unique. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture sales & marketing from Purdue University, I worked for Indiana FFA for two years. Then, I returned home to my family’s grain farm and independent fertilizer and chemical retail business. I worked with my family (who are Stine dealers) for seven years. I then took some time off to be a stay-at-home mom in 2011, helping on the farm during busy seasons. In May 2016, my husband was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. It became clear that we would need to make a lot of changes. At about this time, my territory was open and I needed something flexible that fit my strengths, something I was passionate about and gave me a means to provide for my family. I feel very blessed to be working for Stine. I love working with farmers and their families while having the freedom to operate in a way that works best for me, as well as the opportunity to work hard and get rewarded.

    What drew you into an occupation in agriculture?
    Being born and raised on a farm had a big influence on my life. My parents were intentional about getting us involved with agriculture. So many great memories with my sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles have been made on the farm. As I got older, I joined 4-H and FFA. FFA had a huge impact in my life. It taught me so much about goal setting, relationship building, leadership and communication skills. At the same time, FFA kept reinforcing my love of agriculture. The organization does a great job of letting young people know about all the job opportunities in agriculture — it definitely kept me focused on the agriculture career track.

    Why should women consider a career in agriculture?
    I love that agriculture is rich in traditions — that families have been caring for the same piece of land for generations. I love that agriculture is all about families. While it is steeped in tradition, agriculture embraces science and technology and is comprised of a lot of independent thinkers. I think when we work in agriculture, it’s all about nurturing something, be it a plant, animal, etc. I really believe women are born nurturers, so I think women can find a lot of career satisfaction in the agriculture industry.  

    What’s your one piece of advice for a woman who’s considering a role in the ag industry?
    I think sometimes we hear too often how the agriculture industry is dominated by men. I’m not sure if women shy away from that because of it. However, I have found this industry to be generous to everyone. I encourage women to not be intimidated — work hard, be kind and no matter your gender, you will find a good home in the agriculture sector.  

  •  Image

    A Look Back at Stine’s Directors Council Meeting

    March 21, 2018

    Posted by Stine Seed in Stine News

    Earlier this month, more than 40 regional sales agronomists (RSAs), independent sales representatives (ISRs) and leadership team members gathered for Stine’s annual Directors Council Meeting. This is the second annual Directors Council Meeting, a two-day meeting that provides us with valuable feedback to help refine our programs and strengthen our business.

    The first day, Stine RSAs met to review sales and discuss plans for next year. They reviewed current and new programs, as well as new additions to Stine’s lineup of high-yielding seed corn and soybeans. The team is excited for the new soybean traits coming to market and looks forward to offering growers more choice for their fields in the coming years. 

    On day two, the Directors Council met to provide input from their respective parts of the country. They spoke about their successes in 2017 and what’s needed in their regions to make the 2018 and 2019 sales seasons even greater. Stine continues to see growth throughout the Corn Belt and beyond because of the great work from this team. It was a productive day capped off with a presentation by Stine President Myron Stine who was on hand to discuss the future of the company.

    A few key takeaways from this year’s Directors Council Meeting include:

    1. Stine is growing, and shows no signs of stopping. Ten years ago, we had 67 ISRs promoting our brand. Today, we have more than 200 — a huge accomplishment that demonstrates the momentum of our growth and desire to expand our reach to growers across the country.
    2. We continue to lead the field in having priority access to the latest technologies. From our lineup of Stine® GT27 brand soybeans to the future with Stine GT27 stacked with LibertyLink® and Enlist E3, our lineup will ensure that growers have access to the highest-yielding soybean trait packages as soon as they become available.
    3. We are seeing great yields and performance from Stine Agrisure® brand corn, including Stine Agrisure Duracade® brand corn. Stine will continue to add to its lineup of Agrisure trait options for maximum yields and powerful protection against above- and below-ground insects.
  • Bill Kessinger Image

    Best Time to Plant

    March 14, 2018

    Posted by Bill Kessinger in Planting

    Growers from the Mid-South Delta to my region in the upper Midwest/Great Lakes are speculating on when the weather will begin to favor planting season. In any case, growers want to get out in the field early, when possible. Since it’s truly a game of luck, it’s important to start monitoring the weather. I research older weather patterns and also keep an eye on the five- to seven-day forecast. If you see a window of dry, moderate temps, it’s time to start checking soil temps as well. Here are a few recommendations on the most favorable conditions to start planting corn and soybeans.

    You always want to start early with corn. If temps hold steady for four to five days, check the temperature of your soil. Be sure to measure at a depth of one to one and a half inches to get a thorough reading. Ideally, if your soil stays at 50 degrees for at least four hours throughout the day, it’s a good time to plant. Anything lower than 50 degrees can affect germination and emergence, especially in the first few days after planting when the seedlings are at their most volatile stage.

    I typically recommend growers wait a week or two after corn is in the ground before starting soybeans. If soybeans are hit with a hard frost after emergence, it kills off the plants. For corn, on the other hand, the growing point stays below ground for a longer period of time, so they are at less of a risk for frost issues. For soybeans, you want to measure the temperature at the same depth of corn — one to one and a half inches. Before you start planting soybeans, make sure the temperature of the soil is consistently 50 degrees for at least eight to nine hours of the day for four to five consecutive days.

    For more information on the best time to plant, contact your local Stine sales agronomist.