Session
Title: Precision Ag Business
Date: Wed Aug 4, 2021
Time: 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Moderator: Dave Stanko

Precision services represent a new model and income stream for many retailers, but how to shift from product-based sales to services? We will hear from retailers who have been successful in the service-based arena. Competition for acres and farmer dollars intensifies from FBN and online vendors. We will look at the economic impact on retailers and how some retailers are meeting the challenge to deliver what customers want as well as addressing how to find the right people for precision.

Better Service, More Acres, Happier Employees

Learn how Solinftec is improving custom application business with their technology

Bret Sitzmann (speaker)
Head Of Ecosystem and Grain
Solinftec
West Lafayette, IN, NA 47906
US

Bret Sitzmann is the head of ecosystem and grain at Solinftec, a technology provider built exclusively for agriculture,  based in West Lafayette, IN. Sitzmann has a lifetime of experience in agriculture as an agronomist, grain merchandiser, farmer, marketer and business leader. Technology and digital solutions in agriculture are an addiction for Bret, having spent the past 15 years of his career with companies including Monsanto, The Climate Corporation, Bayer Crop Science and IBM.  Sitzmann holds a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and crop science from Iowa State University.

Length (approx): 10 min
 
Elevating Precision Ag: Drones for In-Field Applications

In this session, Rantizo Director of Strategy, Dudley Stephens, will share how Rantizo is bringing drones to in-field applications across the U.S. But more importantly, how taking an integrated systems approach with existing technologies can mean cost-effective results for growers and new business opportunities for ag retailers.

Dudley will share real-world examples of just how diverse the possibilities can be when using drones for precision application needs. The sky's the limit!

Talking points:

  • Rantizo overview
  • Systems approach to precision agriculture

Examples of uses in the field:

  • Rice levee spraying
  • Pastureland improvements
Dudley Stephens (speaker)
Director of Strategy
Rantizo, Inc.

Dudley grew up on a family farm in the Mississippi Delta and has over two decades of consulting experience in the food and agribusiness industries.  He holds a BBA from Mississippi State University and an MBA from the University of Illinois. Throughout his career, he has led several grain trading desks for multinational firms, managed multiple corn and soybean breeding programs, and developed and implemented Identity Preserved origination programs.  His expertise focuses on producer group development, implementing process improvements, delivering AgTech investment guidance, and creating new marketing strategies, specifically in specialty crop and technology markets.  Prior to joining Rantizo in the spring of 2021, Dudley held leadership roles with startups in Chicago, Silicon Valley, and Denmark.  

Length (approx): 10 min
 
Switching Careers to Unmanned Aerial Systems in Agriculture

I will be talking about my journey through the quickly advancing industry of UAS platforms used in agriculture. After enrolling in Parkland Community College’s UAS certification program in fall of 2019 I was not sure what direction my new career would take me. Since the UAS program was an optional part of their program for an associate degree in Agronomy it made sense to explore those avenues related to agriculture. 18 months, hundreds of flights, and thousands of miles later I had no idea what was in store for me down this new road.

Paul Dudley (speaker)
UAS Training and Operations Specialist
Sentera
Minneapolis, MN 55423
US

Paul Dudley was born in Champaign, Urbana Illinois. He was home schooled through middle school and attended Judah Christian High School in Champaign. He studied Avionics Design and Human Factors Engineering at the University of Illinois Institute of Aviation. He would later go to work for Horizon Hobby LLC as a product support representative for UAVs and R.C. vehicles of all sorts. He received a certificate in UAS operations from Parkland Community College, his part 107 UAS commercial operators license in 2020 and began his internship at Sentera in February of that year.

Length (approx): 10 min
 
Precision Technology Changes in Ag Retail

Will go over successes and failures of our past precision ag services. How we got to where we are today, with our current challenges. Dive into what adoption and changes need to be made and what the future of retail precision ag might look like.      

Jason Leary (speaker)
Ag Technology Manager
Crystal Valley Cooperative
Mankato, MN 50661
US

Jason Leary joined Crystal Valley in 2011 after receiving his B.S. Degree in Ag Systems Technology from South Dakota State University. Jason helped develop, launch, and grow Crystal Valley’s Precision Ag program to provide growers local research and data-driven decision-making. As Ag Technology Manager, Jason oversees the Precision Agronomy and Precision Equipment teams and the agronomic research trials for Crystal Valley. In 2019, Jason’s team received the Precision Farming Dealer Most Valuable Dealership award. Jason takes his passion for precision agronomy and incorporates it into his family farm in South Central Minnesota, where he resides with his wife and three children.

Length (approx): 10 min
 
Business Topics: Management Panel
Dudley Stephens (speaker)
Director of Strategy
Rantizo, Inc.

Dudley grew up on a family farm in the Mississippi Delta and has over two decades of consulting experience in the food and agribusiness industries.  He holds a BBA from Mississippi State University and an MBA from the University of Illinois. Throughout his career, he has led several grain trading desks for multinational firms, managed multiple corn and soybean breeding programs, and developed and implemented Identity Preserved origination programs.  His expertise focuses on producer group development, implementing process improvements, delivering AgTech investment guidance, and creating new marketing strategies, specifically in specialty crop and technology markets.  Prior to joining Rantizo in the spring of 2021, Dudley held leadership roles with startups in Chicago, Silicon Valley, and Denmark.  

Paul Dudley (speaker)
UAS Training and Operations Specialist
Sentera
Minneapolis, MN 55423
US

Paul Dudley was born in Champaign, Urbana Illinois. He was home schooled through middle school and attended Judah Christian High School in Champaign. He studied Avionics Design and Human Factors Engineering at the University of Illinois Institute of Aviation. He would later go to work for Horizon Hobby LLC as a product support representative for UAVs and R.C. vehicles of all sorts. He received a certificate in UAS operations from Parkland Community College, his part 107 UAS commercial operators license in 2020 and began his internship at Sentera in February of that year.

Jason Leary (speaker)
Ag Technology Manager
Crystal Valley Cooperative
Mankato, MN 50661
US

Jason Leary joined Crystal Valley in 2011 after receiving his B.S. Degree in Ag Systems Technology from South Dakota State University. Jason helped develop, launch, and grow Crystal Valley’s Precision Ag program to provide growers local research and data-driven decision-making. As Ag Technology Manager, Jason oversees the Precision Agronomy and Precision Equipment teams and the agronomic research trials for Crystal Valley. In 2019, Jason’s team received the Precision Farming Dealer Most Valuable Dealership award. Jason takes his passion for precision agronomy and incorporates it into his family farm in South Central Minnesota, where he resides with his wife and three children.

Bret Sitzmann (speaker)
Head Of Ecosystem and Grain
Solinftec
West Lafayette, IN, NA 47906
US

Bret Sitzmann is the head of ecosystem and grain at Solinftec, a technology provider built exclusively for agriculture,  based in West Lafayette, IN. Sitzmann has a lifetime of experience in agriculture as an agronomist, grain merchandiser, farmer, marketer and business leader. Technology and digital solutions in agriculture are an addiction for Bret, having spent the past 15 years of his career with companies including Monsanto, The Climate Corporation, Bayer Crop Science and IBM.  Sitzmann holds a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and crop science from Iowa State University.

Length (approx): 40 min