Mon, 8 Oct 2018
With only five weeks to go until our Ag 4.0 workshop, we had a chat with one of our key panelists Kasey Bamberger – a third generation owner of Bryant Agriculture Enterprise. We speak about how she has seen the ag industry change over time in a family farm, and her honest opinion as a woman in agriculture.
Bryant Ag is a third generation farm located in south west Ohio. The home farm is located in Washington Court House, Ohio but we farm in seven different counties. Our annual commodities include corn, soybeans and soft red winter wheat. Today, myself, my cousin Heath, my father Mark, my uncle Mike, and my Grandfather John, as well as 16 wonderful full time employees operate the farm. We strive to treat everyone that works for us or with us like they are a part of our own family. Likewise, every acre we farm is meticulously maintained the same as the ground we own. To maximize economic and operating efficiencies, all farming services are done in-house. We also work with other companies to help research and test new products that are coming down the pipeline.
The AgTech sector is an ever-changing industry, but I believe I have seen quicker change and development into agtech in my generation’s time on the farm than the generations before us. I believe we will continue to see new technologies available to growers. As we are challenged with the task to continue to feed, fuel, and provide fiber for a growing population we must be able to continue producing good crops in a sustainable environment. We must be able to continue making positive economic and environmental decisions and new technology helps us to do so.
There is a lot of private sector funding that is being invested in to agriculture research and technologies because many people know the projected population increase that is expected by 2050—and that is right around the corner. We must be able to continue to do more with less and new ag technologies allow us to do so. Today, we see farm management software programs, variable rate input prescriptions based on the ability to overlay data produced by equipment, drone or satellite footage to help allow us make quicker and more precise agronomical decisions, and soil/weather sensors—just to name a few. I believe it is only the beginning in the tools that will be available and what’s to come. As growers, we must continue to adapt.
I am always excited to network and meet others from any part of the ag industry but I think I am most excited to be able to give a growers perspective of what we are doing on our farm today and what changes we believe we need to see in the future in order to be sustainable.
I honestly believe they go hand in hand. I think the ag industry is changing and there is so much room for young professionals, male or female, to enter into the ag sector. Whether it is farming, lending, sales, engineering, agronomy, or agtech, we need to do a better job at promoting the industry, what is new and exciting about it, and continue to cultivate an interest in today’s youth on where their food is coming from and how it is grown. There are many jobs available and it is such an exciting industry to be part of.
Most of the people I work with in the industry are male but I have never let the fact that I am female be a crutch or an excuse. I can’t count the number of times I have been told “you don’t look like a farmer”. I take it as a compliment. Almost every corn grower can say they have walked corn fields but not many can say they have done it in a sundress. My work boots are bright purple and covered in flowers – I am who I am and I love what I do and the people I do it with. I am just very lucky to work with family, and employees, that have never worried about the stereotype and I hope I continue to never give them a reason to. Do not put an emphasis on the fact that you are female—just be passionate and hard working at what you do. Over time you will gain the respect of those surrounding you.
I believe that our biggest challenge so far has been evaluating and understanding consumer trends and how it may affect production in the future. I also think that although the new technology that is accessible on our operation is great, being able to look at the data, understand it, and make decisions off of it quickly is something we consistently are working at. There is more and more information at our fingertips each year and we want to make sure we are utilizing it all.
Honestly, I feel that I am just getting started. Five years is not nearly enough time to have a career highlight. We have a lot to learn and a lot to accomplish. I say “we” because I really do not look at this as only my career. I am in a partnership with my cousin, and today our parents. Heath and I make decisions together- I need him, he needs me, and we also need a team of really great people surrounding us- it will always be “our” career highlights. Also, our grandparents, parents, spouses, and siblings who are not involved in the operation play a big part in the succession planning. We are very much a family farm and it takes all of us understanding the goals of the future. I hope to be able to continue to grow a successful business so we are able to provide opportunities for our employees and others in our community. At the end of my career I hope to then look back at the highlights—today we just look forward at the future and how we can continue to accomplish our goals.
We are testing a few new inputs and technologies at the farm today. We are also part of a max yield wheat project with BASF that we saw positive results in year one. Any time we are testing or trying something new, it is exciting to see if it will bring positive value at our operation.
Facebook: Bryant Agriculture Enterprise
Join Kasey Bamberger and leading industry experts at Ag 4.0, a workshop aimed at improving the understanding of modern agriculture practices and creating interoperable solutions. Kasey will be speaking on the panels: Women in Ag and Understanding the Modern Farmer.
Be part of a workshop where farmers will be given the opportunity to tell AgTech companies what they need, rather than the other way around. If you are a farmer or grower – secure your FREE ticket here.