Q&A: Crop Protection Industry Vet Makes the Precision Leap

Simply put, as editors we tend to receive a TON of advertiser-generated press releases between our dual-roles publishing both CropLife.com and PrecisionAg.com.

Most of the time we re-post the text (with a few minor edits for style, punctuation, and the like) pretty much as-is. Other times, we get a release that deserves a little more of a deeper dive.

Farmers Edge (Winnipeg, MB) recently had an announcement that fell easily under the former, announcing the hiring of longtime Syngenta executive Scott McKinnon, who the company named to the General Manager position overseeing its recent expansion in Australia. McKinnon and his team will operate out of the company’s current stronghold in New South Wales.

We reached out to Farmers Edge and McKinnon to ask Scott a few quick questions about his new role.

Below is a brief question-and-answer from our exchange:

PrecisionAg.com (PA.com): Making the jump from the world of crop protection (Syngenta) to an FMIS company like Farmers Edge, how does one decide to make such a career move?

Scott McKinnon (SM): “After working with Syngenta for almost seventeen years, I was eager to step into a role in which I could bring the legacy work I’d focused on at Syngenta. Since leaving Syngenta I have worked with two other ag tech companies in complementary spaces to Farmers Edge, and this gave me the opportunity to locally lead a company many see as one of the foremost disruptors in precision agriculture, Farmers Edge. In my new role, I’ll focus on driving technological innovation while still interacting with and consulting farmers in the field. But what drew me most to Farmers Edge was the scope of its vision for Australian agriculture, and the potential impact it could have on individual farm productivity as well as national yield levels.”

PA.com: The press release states Mr. McKinnon will head up Farmers Edge expansion down in Australia. What are some early plans for market penetration (that you feel comfortable sharing with us) to expand Farmers Edge beyond its current North America stronghold?

SM: “Right now, there’s a stronger interest in ag tech and precision systems than there has ever been in Australian agriculture. While Australian growers are familiar with services like VRT (Variable Rate Technology), GIS-enabled crop imagery, and field-centric weather analytics, there wasn’t an integrated, out-of-the-box solutions like Farmers Edge on the market that would make the conversion to ag tech simple and seamless; that’s our goal. We’ll work closely with our NSW partner Delta Agribusiness to determine the best support model and staff up quickly moving forward for their region. In other geographies our plan is to build relationships with influential and progressive agents to take Farmers Edge to more growers there, and to drive better solutions through better data.”

PA.com: Making the jump from crop protection into precision ag and big data, any concerns about making the transition; are there aspects that you feel you need to learn more about?

SM: “Since I already have experience with both “big” ag-data and agronomic consulting, the jump to Farmers Edge hasn’t been a difficult one. But precision agriculture is such a dynamic field, with new innovations and technological advancements being unveiled daily, so there’s always more to learn. Looking ahead, I’m ready to help educate growers throughout Australia about the field-level benefits that these technologies offer and to help change the status quo in agriculture, just like Farmers Edge is doing so successfully in other markets.”

PA.com: Anything else that you would like to discuss? Goals for Farmers Edge in the future? Anything about Farmers Edge in particular that drew you towards them?

SM: “With more than 7 million acres under management across the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Russia, our expansion into Australia is another step forward in expanding our international footprint. Regardless of the crops you work with or the country you live in, Farmers Edge firmly believes that better data drives better solutions, and better solutions drive better farming, and so we’ve committed ourselves to delivering the most accurate, comprehensive data possible to growers across the globe.”

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