Author

Melissa Niedrich

Melissa Niedrich

Melissa Niedrich is the Senior Manager of Talent Strategy & Operations at FBN. Melissa helps lead FBN’s efforts to identify and bring the best talent into the organization, and create a fantastic candidate experience along the way. Prior to starting at FBN, she worked as a management consultant at Bain & Company advising clients on how to build world-class leadership and talent systems. She lives in Chicago, IL, and in her free time enjoys reading, rooting for the Chicago Cubs, and taking long walks with her dog, Murphy.


Jun 14, 2022

by Melissa Niedrich

Our ‘Why I Chose  ’ series features stories from employees across different roles, teams, and geographies on how they got to  , what it’s like to work here, and how their teams help fulfill our mission of putting Farmers First®. I commenced at in August 2021, with my first day being the Dowerin Field day in Western Australia. My role is the Australian Business Development manager for the Community Builder Program. My base is Western Australia, but I travel to all states. My key responsibilities are building and introducing Community Builder program to prospects in Australia and assisting in building brand in the regions through my Australian Network.  My career has given me the ability to work in various industries - retail, construction, banking/finance and now agriculture - the best industry by far! My tenure in the agriculture sector has been 12 years, and I’ve had the opportunity to work in grain marketing/trading, product development (financial), IT management and commercial manager (pork industry). purpose - putting farmers first, this is what makes you go above and beyond every day!  The entrepreneurial mindset, continual improvement and innovation that is being applied through every facet of . The big one - the PEOPLE! The thought process was understanding the purpose, strategy, the products and services offered that are so innovative and meet the challenges farmers face, and talking with people who work at . Open and transparent - make a mistake, make it fast and move on. Everyone has a voice, so you can share thoughts and ideas. Extremely collaborative. We in Australia are building brand and market share that is seen as a disruptor. It is a disruptor for the benefit of farmers, as they now have the ability to understand the pricing of different products/inputs in the market and make better informed decisions, they have the opportunity to enhance efficiency through accessing the data analytics platform, and the community hub to learn from other farms and access informative articles. mission is key to every conversation and decision we make as a team. This can be seen in the product offerings, transparency in pricing and our marketing intel to support our Community Builders and farmers. Ensuring we have a presence in the regions via our Community Builders is critical so that we can continue to give back and promote the sustainability of not only farmers but the communities they operate in.  Celebrating Pride is so important to me, as it is a reminder to all that we need to accept people for who they are and a time during which we can celebrate people's differences in a positive way. It is especially important to me as my own daughter is part of the Pride community, and it has been a journey for me to become more educated and to overcome some of my unconscious biases. My life is fuller from having diverse people around me. Amazing! The journey for has only just begun, and the momentum is growing - it's an exciting time. Agriculture in general has been slow to embrace Pride, but is a prime example for other companies to follow in our industry. Reading, continual learning, and I love keeping fit (running) - I live a very healthy life whereby mental and physical health are a priority in my life. Join up to a team that is innovative and collaborative, that is pushing the boundaries in the agriculture sector to remain sustainable for future generations.


Jun 09, 2022

by Melissa Niedrich

Our ‘Why I Chose  ’ series features stories from employees across different roles, teams, and geographies on how they got to  , what it’s like to work here, and how their teams help fulfill our mission of putting Farmers First®. I joined in February 2021 as Global Regulatory Manager. I work remotely out of Salt Lake City, Utah.  I lead the Global regulatory team for FBN Direct® and my six teammates are located across Australia, Canada and the USA. We are in charge of product registrations and other regulatory requirements for proprietary products portfolio of Crop Protection, Adjuvants and Crop Nutrition products. Although we are part of the product development team, our activities are spread over the entire product life cycle. This includes new product development, dossier preparations, registrations with relevant regulatory authorities, maintenance of registration, review of marketing material, etc.  My background is quite varied, both geographically and in terms of experience. I studied and worked in 9 countries, and experienced large corporate companies like Syngenta and Sanofi, as well as small family owned-business and non-profit organizations.  I have a strong technical background with a master in chemical engineering from CPE Lyon (France) and a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Oxford. At that time, even though I came from a farming background (with a dad who is a farmer turned winemaker and both sets of grandparents also farmers), I had never linked chemistry with Ag. Like most of my classmates, I was planning for a pharmaceutical career.  Serendipity had me interview at Syngenta as I was graduating from my PhD, and I first joined Syngenta as a postdoctoral fellow in their research facilities in Switzerland. I really enjoyed the industrial setting, but I was looking for a role that would allow me to experience the whole lifecycle of a product. I joined Syngenta’s Global Regulatory team knowing almost nothing about regulatory and fell in love with the field. It was an amazing learning environment, as I was surrounded by experts in the fields of regulatory, toxicology, environmental fate, environmental toxicity, product chemistry, etc. and started to understand how it all comes together to assess the risk profile of a product and its safe use in the market.  Six years ago, my husband was offered a professorship at the University of Utah and we moved to Salt Lake City. Although wonderful for its scenery, Utah is not a major Ag state and I was really surprised to find a small family-owned business that made proprietary fertilizers, biostimulants, feed additives and aquaculture products. It was a pretty drastic change as it combined going from a large global team to a 1-person department and learning about a new set of regulations, since these Ag inputs (fertilizers, biostimulants, etc.) are regulated very differently than pesticides.  All of these experiences armed me with a set of tools that became very handy as I joined .    I heard about through one of my friends and former colleagues, who sent me the job description for my current role. At the time, I was a program manager of medical devices, and I was really missing the regulatory work in the Ag industry. I had heard a lot about Silicon Valley start-ups and was eager to get a feel for it, but never really thought it would be an option in my field dominated by large companies like Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, etc.. So when I started looking up online, I was very excited to see that it was a start-up, but what caught my attention was the company’s unique set of offerings guided by its unique vision. seemed to be one-of-a-kind and I was curious to learn more!  I was first impressed with the fact that every person I interviewed with was talking about the company’s mission. In my previous experiences, the company mission was that corporate statement must-have that no one ever remembered. And it did not stop at the interview. Since I joined, I have realized that mission is embedded in everything we do and how we think as a team.  In addition, I interviewed with Eric Carnell, our Chief Legal Officer, and it was clear that if is , it does not mean compliance is second! That was a key factor for me, as in our industry compliance is not a “nice to have.” Finally, was not just unique as a company, but also in the opportunities it would bring. As the first internal hire in the regulatory department I would have the opportunity to build a team and create the department's processes from the ground up! That is not the kind of opportunity that presents itself very often and would have never happened at an already established company.  I am loving it! I have never worked in such an energetic and energizing environment. What is even more incredible is that the majority of the employees have joined during the pandemic, and therefore remotely, and that has not prevented me from feeling that I “belonged” right away. All video calls are done with the camera on, and everyone is engaged.  Everyone at is very excited about the mission, and this creates a unique drive to get things done as a team even though we are spread around the world and across different functions. I have yet to find someone who was not willing to help me even if my requests were outside of their usual scope. It is a high-speed environment with very challenging objectives, but because of the shared Farmer’s First drive, we always tackle challenges as a team and we are pulling in the same direction.  After experiencing both large companies and old family businesses, it is exhilarating to be part of a vibrant company that is not constrained by inherited processes and policies. Yes we have our share of challenges, but we are all part of the solution and building .  Last but not least, I love the diversity of the challenges I am facing and the fact that sometimes people come to me, not with a regulatory question, but a chemistry one! We are still small and people’s skills are not limited to their job description! We all pitch in for the better good, and this is truly inspiring. The regulatory team, along with the product development team, are key to Direct’s future, as we are responsible for the development and registration of own proprietary products.  This allows to control products’ destiny, from the manufacturing all the way to distribution to our farmers. This is one of the main reasons that was able to supply crop protection products to our members in a very strained supply chain situation.  mission is profoundly embedded in our day-to-day work as well as longer-term strategy. Hearing the following sentence “I hear what everyone is saying, but ultimately what is the best decision for the farmers?” is business as usual at ! From the choice of the products we decide to develop, our product labels, packaging, etc. we always think: “what would best serve our farmers?” A very concrete example is how we developed the labels for the Farmers First Crop Nutrient products this year. We really focused on ensuring the label would contain all of the practical information a farmer would need to make the best use of the product. So in addition to the mandatory regulatory guarantees and information, we added general descriptions of the product, tank mixing compatibilities, mixing order, time of application, etc.  I am a big outdoorsy person - so activities vary with the seasons as Utah is an amazing playground. Any chance I get I spend hiking, mountain biking, skiing with my husband and our 3-year-old strapped to one of us, or tagging along! Coming from Europe, I fell in love with the open spaces of the western states and the diversity the national Parks have to offer. We have hiked most of them, with the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim being the biggest challenge so far!  Ask questions, and see if you can relate to the culture and our mission. If the answer is yes, you are in for the ride of a lifetime no matter what position you will hold. 


May 19, 2022

by Melissa Niedrich

Our ‘Why I Chose  ’ series features stories from employees across different roles, teams, and geographies on how they got to  , what it’s like to work here, and how their teams help fulfill our mission of putting Farmers First®. I joined in June 2020, and I am currently Regional Director - Australia. I am based in Perth, Western Australia, and my role here is to ensure success within the FBN Direct® sales team in Australia.  Previously I have been involved in grain market advisory, grain trading and risk management, and fertilizer sales. The concept of a grower network approach to better the industry and on-farm profitability. I wanted to be a part of something that was unique in the industry and was clearly geared towards achieving a more sustainable environment for farmers. Stability is one of the biggest concerns when starting with a new company, especially in the Ag Industry. But after meeting a couple of times with the country manager at , I got an understanding of the growth and results that the North American business had been able to achieve since 2014, and this gave me the confidence I needed to jump in! has an incredibly fast-moving culture, and everyone emanates a positive energy that really helps us achieve the goals we set out. We have been pioneering ’s on-the-ground presence in Australia, and I couldn't be prouder of the team we have here and what they have accomplished in the past 18 months. is behind every decision we make. For us, that is around where we can have the most impact on farms from a sales perspective and help those growers as best we can. We are giving farmers more tools to increase profitability, and I'm glad to say the Account Executive team is a key enabler of ’s ability to do that. Making the most of the Australian lifestyle, relaxing on the beach and exploring with my two kids (Charlie (7) & Luca (3)). Be ready for an incredible challenge. It's fast and sometimes daunting, but an A-grade team makes it all achievable. Learn more about joining  Interested in learning more about   and opportunities to join our team? Check out our   for more information on open roles and how we’re transforming the future of farming!


May 05, 2022

by Melissa Niedrich

Our ‘Why I Chose  ’ series features stories from employees across different roles, teams and geographies on how they got to FBN, what it’s like to work here and how their teams help fulfill our mission of putting Farmers First®. I joined in January 2019 and was employee number three when decided to expand into Canada. I started out as an Account Executive based in Saskatchewan. I worked in that role for just over a year and I was promoted to the Regional Manager role which has now evolved into the Regional Director role for Canada East Region. I am based in Watrous, SK and I work remotely. I am responsible for managing the FBN Direct® sales teams for North East SK, Central SK, South East SK, South West SK, all of Manitoba and Ontario. I have 6 Outside AEs and 2 Inside AEs that report to me. Before I joined , I worked in several different sales roles in the Ag Industry. These roles helped shape the person I have become. I have experience working with seed, fertilizer, crop inputs, agronomy and precision ag. I am also an active partner in our family farm, working with my husband and his family on a 10,000 acre grain farm in Watrous, SK. I decided to come to because the mission and vision of the company aligned with my core values. Working in the Ag Industry, I always struggled wearing two hats - my farmer hat and my industry hat.  With , those two hats aligned and it was no longer a balancing act between the two. The transparency that brings to the industry is game-changing and I really appreciated that. was something that resonated with me and I wanted to see what that was all about. I decided to take the leap of faith and join because I knew one of the company’s leaders from a previous work experience. He convinced me to come work for this new start-up that was going to make waves not only in Canada, but the entire Ag industry. I was in a place in my career where I liked the opportunity that presented and I also saw the opportunity for growth. The people are the #1 reason why I like so much. The Canadian team is one of the best teams I have had the privilege to work with. The passion and the drive to succeed on Team Canada is definitely incomparable to any other sales team that I have worked with in the past.  We have had to work extra hard the past four years to get where we are today and what we have achieved and overcome as a team is something I am extremely proud of and happy that I was able to be a part of. My team is extremely driven to change how the Ag industry works in Canada. Over the last four years, we have worked very hard to help growers think differently when it comes to purchasing their crop inputs.  The business is growing extremely fast in Canada and that is because of my team and all of Team Canada working hard to put everyday. This will lead to many more great opportunities for to help Canadian farmers in different parts of their operations. is our true north star and every decision we make as a salesperson or management team is guided by that mission. This makes our story great and we are writing our story as we go. The day-to-day interaction and conversations with farmers is great when we have the product they need and we can sell it to them at a competitive, fair price.  I appreciate that we have the mentality and act on it, especially in our daily conversations. This builds trust and relationships with our customers and allows us to know that we are having a positive impact on their bottom line. I am a mom of two - Axel, my son, is 8 years old and Blakely, my daughter, is 5. My kids keep me on my toes and very busy. I love spending time outside teaching them about gardening, yard work and farming.  I also love being at the lake in the summertime - we have a cabin about an hour and half away from our house, so we like to get up there as much as possible in the summer to boat, swim, golf and hang with friends and family.  In the winter, I spend a lot of time at the rink watching my son play hockey, but we also enjoy time outside snowmobiling, tobogganing, skiing and snowboarding when the weather is nice. When I have time to myself, I really enjoy spinning and working out. Be ready for a challenge, ask for help, be persistent, learn to do by doing and roll with the punches.  If you keep those things in mind, you will find that it's a very rewarding company to work for.  Hard work is recognized and rewarded at and that's not always the case in other companies. It's great to work for a company that appreciates and rewards the passion and persistence that goes into the day-to-day work at . Interested in learning more about   and opportunities to join our team? Check out our   for more information on open roles and how we’re transforming the future of farming!


Apr 07, 2022

by Melissa Niedrich

Our ‘Why I Chose  ’ series features stories from employees across different roles, teams, and geographies on how they got to  , what it’s like to work here, and how their teams help fulfill our mission of putting Farmers First®. I joined at the end of January this year, 2022. I am on the legal team supporting Livestock, On-Farm Trials, Regulatory, and Warehousing and Logistics. I’m fully remote, based in Galveston, Texas. Prior to law school, I worked as an engineer for a state-funded water authority in Florida. I coordinated with local producers on water permits and water-quality and water-quantity improvement projects. Post-law school and just prior to joining , I was an attorney in private practice, where I did about half transactional work and about half litigation. I grew up on a 60-acre cow-calf operation in Florida, where I was heavily involved in the day to day needs of the farm. I also raised and showed dairy cows and had a menagerie of other animal projects. While at the University of Florida, I worked on the swine farm, which provided housing for myself and the other 2 students that worked there. And then as an engineer, I was on the Ag Team, working with producers every day. So I have a very solid background in agriculture and it is a huge passion of mine. Because of that, I have always been interested in working in the ag industry, but it is pretty difficult to find ag law work in the Southeast, unless you want to write wills for local growers. I am a big fan of the ocean and not a big fan of snow. When I saw the opening at and started researching, I was really excited to find that is making a positive impact on production agriculture. So many ag-tech startups lose sight of the actual needs of the family farmers that make up the industry, but is really well positioned to be a partner for growers. It was a no-brainer. offered me the opportunity to positively influence the commercial agriculture industry in an innovative way that utilizes my education and allows me to live in a warm place.  All-In. Everyone is working toward the mission of serving family farmers. There’s a lot of innovation happening, and teams are constantly looking for ways to better serve farmers and coordinate with other teams within the company. The legal team largely serves a support function for the business units. We assist with strategizing on new initiatives, thinking through current problems, navigating regulatory frameworks, and protecting the interests of our farmer partners. One of the great things about my job is that I get to work on so many different aspects of the business. While I don’t directly interact with farmers, I get to see all the ways in which is working to improve farmers’ experiences and provide additional tools to increase the profitability of the family farm. I spend most of my free time renovating my 100-year old home and my husband and I are working towards owning a ranch of our own. I also enjoy fishing and we have 2 German Shorthaired Pointer pups that keep me pretty busy. Make good use of the organizational chart and ask lots of questions. has so many different departments and there are so many different things happening at once. It may take a while to wrap your head around it all, so make good use of the more tenured people you work with to get institutional knowledge and contextual background. I think I do a better job if I have an idea of how my piece fits in the puzzle, so I’m really thankful that everyone at has been so helpful and forthcoming in giving me that context. Interested in learning more about   and opportunities to join our team? Check out our   for more information on open roles and how we’re transforming the future of farming!


Mar 24, 2022

by Melissa Niedrich

Our ‘Why I Chose  ’ series features stories from employees across different roles, teams, and geographies on how they got to  , what it’s like to work here, and how their teams help fulfill our mission of putting Farmers First®. I joined in February 2021, I am the Fulfillment General Manager based in Brighton, CO. I oversee the Brighton location, which is currently ’s largest warehouse location, along with Great Falls, MT, Minot, ND, and the new Lubbock, TX location that will open in Spring 2022. 26 years in transportation and 10 years in food and beverage distribution. I was attracted by the overall mission of the company. Providing services that can help family farmers really spoke to me. I grew up in a farm and dairy area in Southern California. The overall deciding factors were the high level of talent that I got to meet in the interview process, the challenge of working in a startup environment where I could use my experiences to help the company grow, and being able to work for what feels like a good cause. It has been what I expected it to be overall. The culture is well-balanced between caring about our employees and their wellbeing and being hyper-focused on the customer experience. We are driving the culture of safety to very high levels across the network. My team has also been instrumental in developing training programs that are ongoing. Our location has quite a few local farmers that have come to pick up products or visit our facility. It is very gratifying to talk with the farmers and hear all of the great things they have to say about and how it is helping them. We also love showing off our brand new facility! My wife and I love the outdoors and spend time hiking and exploring. My main personal hobby is woodworking. Don't hesitate to join the team, you will love it! But be prepared for the many challenges that come with a fast paced environment and changes that go with a startup company in hyper growth mode. Interested in learning more about   and opportunities to join our team? Check out our   for more information on open roles and how we’re transforming the future of farming!


Mar 17, 2022

by Melissa Niedrich

Our ‘Why I Chose  ’ series features stories from employees across different roles, teams, and geographies on how they got to  , what it’s like to work here, and how their teams help fulfill our mission of putting Farmers First®. I joined in May 2020 after graduating from business school. I currently lead the Strategy and Operations team for Financial and have the pleasure of working with 5 fabulous colleagues on my team. The Strategy and Operations team works across our finance, crop insurance, crop marketing, commercial services, sustainability, and merchandising businesses. We are focused on supporting our General Managers and cross functional partners to drive operational efficiencies, identify and implement growth opportunities and so much more! I am based in San Francisco, California. Prior to business school, I worked in the impact investing space. I started my career at an asset management firm; I was excited about building values-aligned portfolios for high net-worth individuals, institutions, and foundations. I then worked for an impact investing consulting firm. Through these experiences, I became interested in the real assets space (water, forestry, agriculture) and innovative ways to fund new business models in these areas. When I started business school, I thought I wanted to be a real assets investor and run a farmland or timber fund. However, when the time came to make a decision about what was next, I looked back on my career and realized I was most energized by my brief stint in Kenya working for a forestry start-up. I loved being entrenched in the day-to-day of building something new and all of the challenges and successes that come with growing a company.  I was excited to find that FBN checked so many of these boxes for me.    I was first introduced to through an MBA consulting project I did for one of our investors. I wrote a white paper on ’s investment in AgriSecure - a company focused on helping farmers make the transition to organic. I got to know more about ’s mission through this project. I was very inspired by the breadth and depth of ’s products and services all focused on empowering farmers and driving increased profitability for their operations.   I started talking to Berkeley alums at . I was really excited about the opportunity to work with Devin Lammers (President of Financial) to grow our Financial products and services. I knew it was the right fit because the people I met were humble, incredibly driven, intelligent, and had a clear vision of how could make an impact in the agriculture space - now and in ten years. I was energized by the opportunity to mix both strategy and operations, and help execute on our very ambitious growth goals. The role also gives me exposure to our sales, marketing, product, and data teams so I’m always learning! The thing I like most about is how ‘flat’ the organization feels. I truly believe that anyone - no matter their level - can champion and drive the implementation of good ideas. You have access to senior leadership and subject matter experts to drive innovation and that keeps culture very entrepreneurial.  On our team, no day is the same! I would say the biggest impact we have day-to-day is providing additional visibility to data and metrics that drive decision-making. For example, my team has been working on building out a set of OKRs for Financial and corresponding dashboards which help our leadership team understand the success of our various sales, product and marketing efforts. We have additional impact in helping stand up new product and service offerings across our various businesses.    We’re constantly thinking about new ways to creatively support the lives of farmers. Whether this means offering them interest rate discounts for sustainability practices, exploring new offerings to service livestock producers, or identifying new markets - there’s always an idea on the horizon that is focused on improving farmer livelihoods.  I love the outdoors and I’m constantly looking for an excuse to hike, bike or swim - ideally with my black lab puppy, Gilly, and my partner, Brian.  Don’t be afraid to show your willingness to pitch-in on any type of work - whether it’s below or above your pay grade. Our teams thrive because there is a culture of collective success and you will be rewarded for hard work, good ideas, and collaboration. I have consistently felt acknowledged for my work and, as a result, continue to get opportunities to grow within the organization. Interested in learning more about   and opportunities to join our team? Check out our   for more information on open roles and how we’re transforming the future of farming!


Mar 10, 2022

by Melissa Niedrich

Our ‘Why I Chose  ’ series features stories from employees across different roles, teams, and geographies on how they got to  , what it’s like to work here, and how their teams help fulfill our mission of putting Farmers First®. I joined in July of 2021 as VP of Facilities and Workplaces. I am a remote worker based in Cincinnati. My role is leading our Facilities team to manage our growing real estate portfolio. This includes facilities operations, facility project management, lease administration, and office space utilization. I spent most of my 25+ years working in the corporate real estate space as a Project Manager, Operations Manager, and more recently in growing the project management vertical for a small construction firm. I've worked in all types of spaces including corporate offices, research laboratories, central utility plants, and manufacturing.  My early work experience right out of school was in process engineering. What first caught my attention was the mission of the company. The whole concept of disrupting the farming industry by empowering farmers felt genuine. After doing more reading, I was convinced and applied for the open Facilities role. After meeting so many of the leaders through the interviewing process, it was clear that the mission I read about really comes to life in the culture. It was an opportunity to do meaningful work.  The culture is definitely entrepreneurial. You have to be a self starter, be willing to take smart risks, and exercise creative problem solving. As a support group, we enable the core business to deliver against their goals. Our focus is to ensure that the workplace is safe and productive for those working in sites. We will do that through operational excellence, efficient space utilization, and smart real estate investments. In a support function, what I find helpful is focussing on the goals of our core business and how my day-to-day work impacts their ability to achieve their goals. We know you have a life outside of work - what kinds of things do you do for fun?  I love watching movies and visiting the bourbon trails. Remove any preconceived notion you have about farming. I was blown away on how much technology can impact farming decisions and the growing process. Interested in learning more about   and opportunities to join our team? Check out our   for more information on open roles and how we’re transforming the future of farming!


Mar 03, 2022

by Melissa Niedrich

Our ‘Why I Chose  ’ series features stories from employees across different roles, teams, and geographies on how they got to  , what it’s like to work here, and how their teams help fulfill our mission of putting Farmers First®. I joined in Summer 2021, and I lead ’s Data Team. Our team is comprised of Data Analysts, Data Scientists, and Analytics Engineers. I live in San Francisco with my wife and two young kids. I’ve had a rather diverse career, but the desire to understand food and where it comes from is the consistent thread. After college I worked in the international development space, designing policies that would have a positive impact on smallholder farmers and fishers. I went back to grad school to dive deeper into agricultural development economics. After grad school, I started leaning more into the role innovative technologies could play in rural economies and have spent the past decade working on various technology startups focused on the food, fishery and agriculture spaces. I’ve been a long time admirer of s. Bringing price transparency to ag inputs was truly revolutionary. I was working at an agtech subsidiary of the world’s largest seed company when launched, covering competitive intel in the agtech space. You could tell that ’s strategy to pull the curtains back on seed pricing schemes and introduce price transparency was radical and got under the skin of a lot of the seed execs who had spent decades building the incumbent model. When launched its own seed products, you can imagine what the reaction was! For me, though, it was the moment announced it was rolling out a health care product for family farms that truly piqued my interest. I was on the product team then, spending a lot of my time on the road with farmers, trying to understand the big picture pain points in modern ag. Health insurance kept popping up in conversations - these are often small businesses that struggle to keep on a couple of employees and the costs of providing health care was astronomical. To me, ’s decision to offer health plans told me that really understood the challenges of your average family farm and was willing to invest to address them. It was at that moment that I decided I had to go work for . Now, while I had identified as a place I wanted to work, it took several years before the timing and role were right. I had been periodically checking in with ’s VP of Product on interesting roles opening up in the company. And when I was introduced to Matt Meisner, who shared ’s investment in a new centralized Data Team, I got really excited. I was working for a fast growing farmland investment startup at the time, so while it was hard to leave that awesome team, it was a no-brainer to join . Scrappy, collaborative, missionary, indomitable. I lead an incredibly talented group of Data Analysts and Data Scientists. I think we are working on some of the most impactful and interesting projects at (then again, I’m biased!). We are really lucky to be supporting all aspects of the business, from devising models that help farmers reduce their carbon footprint and anticipating crop disease outbreaks, to optimizing the location of supply depots and helping the Finance team track how many business lines each of our members interacts with. Out of all of that diverse work, we aim to build lasting capabilities that will be leveraging for a long time to come. My grandfather grew up on a popcorn farm in western Iowa. He left in the 30s for the east coast as he didn’t think there was a future for him in farming. In many ways, this is a story that repeats itself every generation. I like to think what we are building at is going to help the next generation of farm kids see a future for themselves on the farm, by giving them fair and transparent access to the products, information, tools and services they need to build successful, thriving farm businesses they can proudly pass on to their kids. I’ve worked for several nominally ‘mission driven’ companies before. Missions that were emblazoned on the lobby wall and drilled into new recruits. But I’ve never worked for a company that truly lives and acts the mission of . On almost a daily basis I hear referenced in guiding technology and business decisions, from the top of the organization on down. “Is this really farmers first?” is an ever present question that genuinely guides the decisions we make on a daily basis. Being a dad to two young kids is a full-time job, and my life outside of work really revolves around them. We spend a lot of time outdoors, hiking, climbing trees, crabbing in the SF Bay and working on our small family apple orchard. This is the most dynamic, exciting place I’ve ever worked. If you like the mission, want to make a difference in the world and get inspired by hard problems, this is the place for you. And if the job you're considering isn’t the perfect fit, just get your foot in the door! We are growing quickly in so many directions that this will be a place where any talented person can build a long-term, diverse career! Learn more about joining Interested in learning more about and opportunities to join our team? Check out our for more information on open roles and how we’re transforming the future of farming!


Feb 24, 2022

by Melissa Niedrich

Our ‘Why I Chose ’ series features stories from employees across different roles, teams, and geographies on how they got to , what it’s like to work here, and how their teams help fulfill our mission of putting Farmers First®. When did you join , what is your current role at , where are you based, and what are your responsibilities?  I joined in March 2020 and currently run Category Management & Operations for our Livestock division. I wear a couple of different hats in my role. Primarily, my team and I manage the product strategy and pricing for our Animal Health, Feed, and Supplies businesses. I also lead broader strategy work for the Livestock business and ensure our operational needs are met. I'm based in San Francisco, but spend a lot of time in our Worthington, Minnesota office as well! What was your previous work experience before joining ?  My background is in strategy and business consulting. Prior to , I was at Bain & Company, consulting Fortune 500 companies on various strategy, growth, and organization projects. What did you first find compelling about that led you to want to learn more?  I had been looking for a role specifically in food or agriculture tech when I came across . I first met with Ben Harms (our Chief Strategy Officer) and was immediately drawn in by the disruptive nature of how makes an impact in agriculture. I learned more about 's business lines (like how we invested in manufacturing our own chemicals to disrupt an oligopolistic market, and the transparency we're driving with market data) and immediately felt the mission at work. I was impressed with the broad impact was making across inputs, agronomic data, financial and risk offerings, and more. Why did you ultimately decide to join ? What did this thought process look like for you?  Right off the bat, the mission deeply resonated with me. I considered other roles in food/agriculture tech, but I felt that was the boldest of the lot. There are a lot of companies in food tech that are building "alternatives" to the traditional agriculture system (think alternative protein, vertical farming, etc.). While I think these are valid approaches, I was personally more excited about the potential to make sweeping changes in the main agriculture system we operate in today. To me, it deserves our attention and means a much bigger impact. Beyond the mission, the role aligned with what I was looking for and I also was lucky to have the opportunity to work directly with Charles Baron, one of our co-founders, which I couldn't pass up! Now that you’ve joined, how would you describe ’s culture and what it’s like to work here?  At there's never a dull moment. There's always something new launching, a big change, another new challenge. And yes, it is fast paced. We don't like to wait around.  The makeup of the team is also unique and I think is part of what makes us successful. I have colleagues who grew up on farms their whole lives in rural towns as well as colleagues who grew up in larger cities (like me). But at the root of it, we all feel a sense of duty to farmers and want to work together to make change.  What kind of impact are you and your team having on the company’s future?  Our team is building the next platform at from the ground up. We've launched 3 new product lines, acquired a company to jumpstart the business, and made countless investments into defining scalable growth. It's also been incredible to see the Livestock team grow and transform.  How does ’s mission come to life in your day-to-day work? How does your work positively impact famers?  Everything we launch at is with the farmer (or in my case, livestock operator) in mind. Day-to-day, there are hundreds of micro-decisions that my team and I make to try to hold true to this. For example, I'm currently working to negotiate deals for calving medications and supplies from our vendors so that we can put the products that producers need on sale when they need them. We're also packaging them into easy educational assets so that ranchers can feel prepared for the season. My team also developed the first input financing options that better meet the unique cash needs of livestock operators. Lastly, I like to get out on farms, dairies, and feedlots to learn directly from the source whenever I can. We know you have a life outside of work - what kinds of things do you do for fun?  All things food -- cooking new recipes, trying out new restaurants in SF, reading ag news. I also love working all that food off during my Sunday soccer games or long walks in Golden Gate Park. When we're not in the midst of a global pandemic, I also love to travel (Italy is my happy place)! What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone considering ?  Don't give up if there isn't the "perfect role" for you right away. There are always new opportunities popping up -- plus a lot of internal mobility options once you're here! Learn more about Interested in learning more about and opportunities to join our team? Check out our for more information on open roles and how we’re transforming the future of farming!