What is your name and what type of ‘Ag Expert’ are you?
My name is Jenn Rasmussen and I am an independent agronomist in Southern Alberta.
Where do you work, and what is your current job title?
I am the owner of Crop Doc Consulting.
How long have you been working in the agriculture industry?
My family has been involved with the alfalfa and bee industry for over 30 years so since I was able to walk i have been “helping”. I got my first paying job in the industry when I was 15 as an alfalfa field scout with pioneer so 2018 will be my 11th season in the industry.
What is your favourite part of working in ag?
My favourite part of working in Ag is all of the amazing people that you get to meet. Everyone has different backgrounds and experiences and there is so much you can learn just by talking with someone. Having a huge network in this industry is amazing because if you encounter an obstacle or a question that you can’t answer, then you most likely know someone who can.
Explain your role and what a typical day looks like for you?
My clients are generally involved in the alfalfa seed and leafcutter bee industry. My days are filled with anything from the general labour that goes with the bee operations to in field agronomy of the alfalfa. Although I specialize in alfalfa seed i have a strong background in canola, flax, wheat and barley as well.
What is your earliest agriculture memory?
My earliest memory is sleepovers at my grandparents house during harvest. My grandpa would phone and say, “the hopper is full!” and that my dad needed another truck to unload. My grandma would wake me up and we would hop in the other truck in our pj’s and take it to the field. That truck soon became more well known as “the jammy truck”.
What’s something producers are surprised to find out after meeting with an agronomist?
I think that most producers are shocked at how long I have been working in my field. Most 26 year olds dont already have 10 years under them in a variety of different sectors of the industry. My background of growing up on a specialty seed farm with a bee operation also gives me some very real experiences that help me to deliver the best advice to my clients.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
In my spare time I still love doing anything outside. I play soccer year round and in the summer any free time is taken up by camping, weekend road trips to the mountains or just hanging out in the yard with my dogs.
What is something interesting, that people might not know about you?
My grandparents were one of the first alfalfa seed producers under contract in the country. They were responsible for all of the pest and acre management for Pioneer Hi-bred for almost 20 years until the plant opened in Lethbridge. This background allowed for me to be exposed to the whole industry at a young age and more importantly gave me an amazing network of contacts. People that I knew as a child are now Presidents or Managers at major seed companies.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from growers over your career?
Over my short amount of years I have learnt two major lessons from growers. First off, would be that they would rather you take the time to gather all the relevant information and give them the best answer rather than half an answer that you are not sure about. That’s where your network comes in handy. Second huge lesson would be, to not let my age or my gender stand in the way of my job. It is very easy to walk away from a situation where a grower won’t take your advice because of what you look like, but it makes you a stronger agronomist to find ways to overcome that obstacle. It can be as easy as phrasing your narrative a different way or just trying to make a connection about something else such as family or hobbies before diving in to the big suff.
If you could only give growers one piece of advice when it comes to farm management, what would it be?
My advice would be to do your research. There is an amazing amount of knowledge out there in every factor of the industry. Whether it is crop management, money management or whatever it may be there is probably someone out there who has tried and failed a few times and those people will be your biggest assets.
Salty or sweet?
American pie (the original, not the Madonna one)
Name one thing you could never live without?
Who’s your hero?
My parents and grandparents
In one word what do you attribute most to your success?