When Cal first started working on his family’s farm when he was born (according to him), he didn’t know that his entire life would be surrounded by agriculture. For him, it’s the industry where he feels the most comfortable working in, where he sees his future, and where he finds his passion.
From starting as an egg-cellent helper on the farm, to hatching a career as a Distribution Delivery Specialist with one of the country’s biggest global exporters in agriculture, he has built the skills needed to have a great career.
We spoke to Cal to get the inside scoop on what his career is all about and what it’s like working in agriculture.
Where and when did your career in agriculture begin?
My career in agriculture basically started when I was born as I grew up on a farm. But my first off-farm job technically was when I was 13 years old, and I’ve always been involved in agriculture in one way or another since then. As you learn more and grow, you become more useful to the farm and go from there.
How did you previous experiences working in agriculture prepare and qualify you for your current role as a Distribution Delivery Specialist?
I would probably say the work ethic you learn from working from such a young age on farms, which is such an important piece to any job. Also the ability to adapt and work hard no matter what your role is. Having a strong knowledge and background of the industry helped too.
How does your role play such a crucial part in the industry?
Growing a healthy and strong agriculture industry is the fundamental goal of the business and the service we provide to farmers. This is done through the products we sell to the farmers to improve their genetics throughout their cow herds. After the sale we then distribute it around the world and Canada. It’s a multi-stage process which includes selling the products, developing the right genes from the bulls, and then going through the labs. From there the product comes to us, the distributors, who are responsible for getting the products to the farmers.
What some challenges that come with being a Distribution Specialist?
This biggest challenge we face as the distributors is the pressure from all sides of the business (sales staff, customers, the labs, and animals). There is a turnaround time on everything, different government regulations, health procedures, and charts that have to be followed. That being said, you have to have extremely good time management skills and organization skills so that these added stressors on the animals, sales reps, labs, or disappointed customers are eliminated.
What are some of your career goals for working in agriculture?
I think I’ll always stay within the agriculture industry because it’s where my passion is and I feel it’s what I’m good at. But I’d like to progress within this company since I started in an entry-level role and there is the opportunity to move up into management, supervisory, and executive positions. For now, I’m happy where I am but as time goes on I’d like to take on higher level roles if I feel as though they’re a good fit for me and I’ll be a great asset.
How have trends and developments in the industry created new careers and opportunities for students and new grads from any background?
I think the biggest thing is that the Canadian agriculture industry is one of the biggest in the world, especially in Ontario. Agriculture is one of our biggest exports and assets as a country given the amount of farm land we have. Because of this, there is going be a need for all sorts of backgrounds whether it’s people in skilled trades, business, engineering, or agriculture.
Why do you think that the industry is such a great place to start a career?
One of the biggest reasons why the industry is growing so much is because of the rise in population. The one thing people will always need is food therefore the agriculture industry and everything that comes with it like the animals, plants, and vegetables. There is going to be more demand for workers of all backgrounds in the industry in the future. Take my company for example, if the world population grows, there’s a bigger demand for dairy and beef. Therefore, you need more cows, more genetics, and more workers to meet the demands of the industry, which means our business is going to grow.
How should students prepare for a career in agriculture?
To do my role successfully means paying attention to every little detail and having a strong work ethic. And these skills stay true to any role no matter what industry you’re working in. Specifically in agriculture though, students and grads looking to start their career need to show that they’re willing to be productive and learn throughout your career.
What’s your advice for hatching a career in agriculture?
You shouldn’t overlook from a job because it says agriculture. There a ton of great agricultural companies out there with great opportunities that you don’t need an agricultural background to work for.