It’s not too likely that people know Federated’s Rush City location manager used to be a park ranger, but Matt Kurtz fought wild fires, policed campgrounds, and managed maintenance needs for the National Park Service before he joined the Federated team in late 2012. The transition from using his criminal justice degree (UW-Platteville) to providing agronomy services was in essence a return to his agriculture roots.
Kurtz is an Osceola, WI, native who grew up helping his dad and grandpa with their Black Angus cattle. His farm roots run deep in this area, and when he started at Federated doing custom application and mixing fertilizer, he knew he’d found his career niche.
“I was tired of moving around, working for the government [and the bureaucracy], and I wanted to get back home,” he said. He ended up settling down outside his home state of Wisconsin, but this Packer fan is at home on the edge of Rush City where he can find plenty of places to fish or bow hunt in his spare time.
In true Federated Co-ops form, Kurtz says the best part of his job is making sure growers get the best return on their investment. He understands the challenges of farming today and though he is on the early edge of his career in agriculture, he loves to help growers who have been at this longer than he has.
“I want to help them do the best they can with the acres they have,” he said. At age 30, Kurtz knows that some growers hesitate to put their trust in his recommendations (because of his fewer years of experience), but “I want to build that trust and a good relationship.”
“I like working with a wide variety of growers who have different styles, different viewpoints. I enjoy the challenge of fitting the pieces of the puzzle together . . . helping put together the best plan for their operation.
“Whether it’s fertility programs, chemical programs, seed and crop choices, deciding whether to top dress – or what? – I like to see if there’s something we can do to improve [growers’] business,” said Kurtz.
In the end, he sees his job at Federated as one that makes life a little easier for growers, helping them get more bushels with their crops. He described himself as being all about efficiency. “I try to get everything running as smooth as possible,” he said. For the benefit of growers.
“Rush City’s prize offering is our service. We are able to provide a lot of good one-on-one service to the grower,” said Kurtz.
His bent toward one-on-one service will take a turn toward his bride-to-be at their early October wedding, but he’ll be ready to serve Federated customers throughout harvest. Stop by Rush City or any Federated location to discover how the co-op can best serve you and your growing operation.