Saturday, February 14, 2015

Reflections From the New Guy

By Adam Holton, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, CHS Inc.

How would I sum up my first 12 months in agriculture? Technology. Opportunity. Purpose-driven.

While many in agriculture chose their career paths early while growing up on farms or in rural communities, I come from a second, expanding category, those who come from other business sectors. It’s been a year of a considerable learning that has left me feeling both excited and humbled to be part of agriculture and, in the case of CHS, the cooperative system.

So here’s what this newbie has learned about agriculture in his freshman year:

Technology – I joined CHS from a technology-driven medical diagnostics business and wrongly assumed that agriculture wouldn’t stack up where tech is concerned. Instead I’ve been amazed by the precision agriculture in the field, as well as what goes on behind the scenes. It’s inspiring to see what technology has done to help farmers manage against the whims of weather and other unpredictability. At the same time, this underscores why CHS is actively supporting the critical STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs that will drive the future technological advances so critical to developing next-generation agriculture employees.

Purpose-driven – I’m proud of my time in the U.S. Marines Corps, where a “what can I do to contribute?” culture always outranked “what can you do for me?” Agriculture and, especially CHS as a cooperative, have the same purpose-driven focus. Every day it’s always about how each of us can support one other and help our farmer-owners grow. That strong work ethic, collaborative spirit and entrepreneurial approach are at our core, whether we’re on the frontlines as farmers, working directly with producers or one of countless employees supporting them behind the scenes.

Opportunity – And the future? A growing and hungry world to feed, advancing technology and a workforce where many are nearing retirement add up to long-term opportunity.

Take it from the new guy. Whether you’re already committed to agriculture or considering the possibilities, you’re in for an exciting time. Most important, you have an opportunity to connect to something meaningful -- feeding a hungry world.