By Lee Hart
I don’t want to appear to be the PR department for AgVisor Pro, but Rob Saik who founded the company about a year ago, along with co-conspirator Patrick Walther is very good at keeping the world informed as the service that connects farmers with expert advice around the country continues to grow.
Saik, who over nearly 30 years developed a network of companies around AgriTrend Agrology, teamed up with Walther to launch the new AgVisor Pro last summer. It is a service that recruits an ever-expanding team of ag experts in virtually all areas of crop and livestock management and production to offer their services to farmers and livestock producers.
It is a pay-for-service service — these experts are glad to help farmers but their experience and knowledge is worth something too. There are about 195 experts waiting by the phone as we speak. Their time is booked or paid for in 10-minute increments, but let’s face it, anyone who has a spouse knows they can learn an awful lot of information in 10 minutes.
So a farmer or livestock producer joins the AgVisor Pro service for free, and then when that burning question comes along that may or may not need an immediate answer, the farmer can contact one of the specialists and hopefully get an answer within a few minutes. You can be out in the field or in the barn with your cell phone as something breaks or doesn’t work, or a question arises with no obvious solution and make the call for “help”. Rates vary between $30 and $60 for the initial 10-minute call and it is billed directly to the farmer’s credit card. More time can be arranged as needed.
JUST THE TIP OF THE EXPERT NETWORK
Who is among the AgVisor Pro network of specialists? I just glanced at a few and they include, Murray Skayman, a combine setting specialist from Virden, Manitoba; Aaron Magenheim, a business management specialist from Salinas, California; Dennis Vermette, an agrologist specializing in precision fertility, Manitoba’s Red River Valley; Taylor Husz, a beef and dairy nutritionist who learned lots at Oklahoma State University; Mark Ledebuhr, spray techonology consultant, specializing in horticultural crops from Lansing, Michigan and if its a question about spraying Western Canadian field crops, Tom Wolfe with Agrimetrix /Sprayer 101; Art Lange ag financial analyst and business planning expert, Edmonton, Alberta and Scott Meers, entomologist – insect specialists based out of Brooks, Alberta. As you can see the expertise is literally and figuratively all over the map.
THE MANAGEMENT TEAM EXPANDS
As the company hit the gate with a pretty brisk walk last July, the team that now has AgVisor Pro up and running continues to expand as a news release from Rob Saik explained this morning. Joining an already active crew behind the service are:
- Kris Babbings, as the new sales team leader who was most recently served as Canadian sales manager with Farmers Edge:
- Craig Solberg, with over 40 years experience in agriculture retail including Winfield and Dot Technology Corp, will serve as director of sales.
- Shane Thomas, an agriculture thought leader and author of the “Upstream Ag Insights” blog, will serve as industry advisor.
- Chantelle Toews, whose has worked with SDMC Ag Inc, Impact Group, Andrukow Group Solutions Inc and Iris Meck Communications has accepted the position of brand and marketing manager. Working with Jonathan MacDonald, director of product, Chantelle will be responsible for building the marketing team as well as directing the AGvisorPRO brand efforts.
- Award winning filmmaker, Nick Saik of Know Ideas Media joins the team as content creator. (Nick might have an “in” with someone in human resources department, however if you have watched any of his videos on You Tube they speak to his ability).
- Wilson Schultz, formerly of Parkland Co-op/Fertilizers and graduate of Olds College heads customer experience, and
- Mackenzie Fingerhut, farmer and Olds College Student, is involved in customer engagement as AGvisorPRO ambassador.
CONNECT AT AG IN MOTION
And you can virtually catch up with everyone next week as AGvisorPRO will be celebrating its one year anniversary by hosting the Digital Lounge at the Ag In Motion Discovery Plus Event July 21-25th. Farmers will be able to participate in on-line conversations in the lounge.
AGvisorPRO will also be hosting roundtable sessions Tuesday, July 22nd at 8:30 AM for Tech Direct Industry Partners and at 6:00 PM on July 24th for agriculture experts and farmers as well as running daily product demonstrations during AIM 2020.
Lee Hart is a field editor with Grainews based in Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]