What is your name and what type of ‘Ag Expert’ are you?
My name is Robert Hornford. I would probably say I am a weed and herbicide specialist but I strive to be a generalist, as there are so many areas in agriculture and there are always new things to learn and apply.
Where do you work, and what is your current job title?
I work at Univar Canada as the Director of Marketing and Strategy.
How long have you been working in the agriculture industry?
Growing up on a mixed farm in east central Saskatchewan I would say all of my life.
What is your earliest agriculture memory?
Probably playing in the puddles on my parents’ farm as a child.
Explain your role and what a typical day looks like for you?
I don’t think I have a typical day as my role is very diverse. I look after websites like cropweb.com, agronomy decision programs like AgChemExpert, training platforms like ProTraining.com, marketing, communications, agronomy, social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook (@CropWeb, @AgChemExpert), publications like Connectivity plus the Univar house brands like Guardsman and MasterLine.
What’s something producers are surprised to find out after a meeting with a Director of Marketing and Strategy?
The ‘marketing’ title takes some gruff at times but, once growers know I have over thirty years of history in research, product development and extension it creates a very different conversation because I have worked on the crops they grow and many of the products they use or have used.
What is something interesting, that people might not know about you?
I am a competitive fencer and fencing coach. Even though I am now 58, I still coach twice a week and occasionally compete (albeit a lot slower than when I was younger).
What is your favourite part of working in Ag?
It is impossible to get bored as there is so much cool stuff happening in Ag, from providing agronomic advice at the field level, to high technology on the software side to advances in plant breeding.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from growers over your career?
No matter how extensive your research program is, growers will use products in different ways and under different conditions then you will have tested, so every field you enter can teach you something.
If you could only give growers one piece of advice when it comes to farm management, what would it be?
Knowledge is probably the most underused crop input. No one knows everything including the Ag Experts, so develop a network of contacts to get good advice and good tools.
Salty or sweet? That is easy salty, as a Type 1 Diabetic sweet usually mean cheating on my diet.
Favorite song? Bruce Springsteen “Pink Cadillac”.
Name one thing you could never live without? Anyone who knows me knows that is coffee.
Who’s your hero? I don’t think I have ever had one hero but many people have my respect.
In one word what do you attribute most to your success? Patience.