Monday, March 2, 2015

Visiting Our Growers | by Matt Ondrejko

One of the great things about my job is having the opportunity to spend time with our Valley® dealers and growers talking about products, business and their general outlook on things. 

In early February, I was fortunate enough to be invited down to southwest Indiana to spend time with Scates Valley Irrigation. The Scates team services growers in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky, and boy does the team do a great job. 
Scates Valley Open House

I spent one day visiting large growers from the Scates territory, all farming 10,000 acres or more. It was awesome to hear firsthand how Valley products have made a difference in their operations for many years and often generations. The area is a hotbed for irrigation, and the growers certainly know the power of getting water efficiently and effectively to the crops. This area tends to be heavy in soybeans and corn and has very sandy soils due to its proximity to the Wabash River.

The really interesting thing for me was the amount of farms using remote management products such as Valley BaseStation™
 and AgSense® Field Commanders®. Even though most of the center pivots are in relatively close proximity to each other, on average a 5- to 10-mile radius, the benefits of using these products are too valuable to ignore. One grower told me that he was able to eliminate putting 200 miles per week on each of his trucks because he didn’t have to physically go to every machine, every day. Instead of driving out to every machine every day, he could plan his day and week in a more methodical way. While the upfront cost of these products is a large investment, the payoff is swift, and the tangible benefits are quickly realized.

The acceleration of technology and its benefits continue to seep in to farming. Whether it is remote monitoring solutions for irrigation, soil moisture monitoring or bin management, technology makes farming more efficient and creates true economic benefit for these growers.

Scates Valley Irrigation hosted an Open House while I was visiting that attracted more than 100 local farmers interested in learning about these technologies and discussing “what’s new” in the industry. The sophistication of growers continues to evolve, and finding solutions to their needs is what keeps me up at night. What a great trip!

Scates Valley Open House

Matt Ondrejko

VP Global Marketing

The one word that can sum up Matt is "enthusiasm!" He likes to be on-the-go and have fun along the way. Matt loves music and the 1980s era. He is a child of the MTV generation and has a deep appreciation of all music genres (specifically, he is a huge Dave Matthews Band groupie). Matt has traveled to more than 70 countries around the world and enjoys learning about different cultures and people. He spent three years living with his family in Leuven, Belgium, trying to enjoy as many of the 700+ beers they brew there.