Federated welcomed Mike Slater to the Isanti agronomy team last fall with what began as a part-time position that turned into fulltime agronomy sales this winter. As a local boy himself, Slater is set to dig deeper into the local agronomy scene.
He grew up and graduated in Chisago City and, with his family, worked on a small square-bale hay operation in Hugo – a business that has used Federated services since the 80s. He still manages that hay business for his grandfather, but with his ag communications and marketing degree in hand, he is focused on putting the emphasis of his major – soils and agronomy – to work for Federated growers.
“I enjoy working with the growers every day, being able to communicate with them,” said Slater, adding that “they always have good stories.”
Acknowledging that he is essentially the new kid on the block, he didn’t hesitate to admit that he “always learns from them” (the growers). At the same time, he brings new and growing value to every Federated customer. “I have a willingness to learn the new technologies . . . I can especially bring together the precision [ag] platforms and new agronomics that are coming out each year.”
Over the past several years Slater served as an intern with three different companies (Agrigold Seed, co-ops in Pine City, and Winfield regional agronomy) where he gained valuable perspectives on various precision ag platforms. Now, at Federated, he is learning Proagrica, Federated’s new precision ag platform, which he “really likes so far . . . I see it benefiting growers in this area,” he said.
“[Proagrica] is a good tool to capitalize on, to help the growers,” he said. “It has the Sirrus [mobile app] for agronomists to take it with us to the field. It will help with scouting,” he added.
There’s much to learn In his new role as a sales agronomist but, he said, “I can relate with the growers on learning a new platform.” He recommended that growers take advantage of the training Federated and Proagrica itself offers – just as he is doing.
Slater is well-trained in agronomy and soils, but his primary objective is to help growers, to build relationships, well beyond agronomy sales. “Growers can depend on me for their questions and answers, not just to get a bag of corn or order some fertilizer,” he said. “I want to know them more than just a sales on a piece of paper.”
Slater admits to “kinda’ being a workaholic,” but he also enjoys getting out on the snowmobile when he has the chance. He still throws a few bales for the family hay business, too, come summer.