This success story highlights how keeping in touch with folks you meet throughout life can be beneficial to you and many others. * Disclaimer: I am not suggesting you develop relationships solely for future benefit, rather I am highlighting that genuine relationships built over time with individuals is usually beneficial to both parties.
My name is Sam Ingram and I am a field scientist with Corteva agriscience. Prior to joining Corteva, I spent time as a county agent in Georgia and developed many friendships with county agents and faculty within the state. My main area of expertise as a county agent was forages and cattle, I still have a strong interest in both subjects as they directly relate to my current role. Many farmers in Georgia still have my cell phone contact information and will reach out from time to time with a question. This story highlights a situation with a childhood friend’s dad.
I receive an interesting text on my phone:
“ Sam! This is Joe Farmer, John Farmer’s dad, didn’t you get your Ph.D. in grass or something?!? If so, I have a question about grazing management.” JOE FARMER
My response was polite..” Hey Joe! I hope all is well and yes my Ph.D. focused on tall fescue research. What is your question?” SAM
“ I am looking at using temporary electric fencing to improve my grazing management. Ever had any experience with it?” JOE FARMER
In my job now, I mainly focus on digital and herbicide technologies as tools to improve grazing management, but in my previous life, I worked with temporary electric fencing and knew who to put Joe Farmer in contact with. Temporary electric fencing is an amazing tool to improve your grazing management, but I have found many folks need to see it in action to realize the benefits of this tool.
“I actually worked on a grant that focused on training farmers how to use electric fencing! Let me pass some of that information along and put you in contact with a farmer in your area that is currently using temporary electric fencing.” SAM
“Awesome. Thanks Sam!” JOE FARMER
I reached out to the UGA Forage specialist who then reached out to the county agent in Joe Farmer’s county to put him in contact with a farmer who was utilizing temporary electric fencing. In addition, UGA provided valuable technical information to Joe Farmer on setting up the temporary electric fence. A few weeks later, I got another text from Joe Farmer:
“Sam, I met with Jill Farmer last week and saw some pretty amazing things happening on her farm. I plan to implement a good portion of her system on my farm soon. Thanks for putting me in contact with UGA and her. You need to come see the place soon!” JOE FARMER
That text was validation to me that if you keep in touch with folks and maintain relationships, you can still have impact in fields outside of your current expertise. I simply made a few phone calls to folks I knew could help Joe Farmer, and they helped him adopt a new practice on his farm. If I did not maintain those relationships, I believe the likelihood of Joe Farmer adopting temporary electric fencing is slim. So, as you march on through 2021, I challenge to you try to strengthen your existing relationships and build a few new ones. Further, when someone presents a question to you that may be outside of your realm, don’t feel obligated to answer it yourself, rather think of who you know that would be better suited to answer that question and reach out to them!
The Alliance for Grassland Renewal is a national organization focused on enhancing the appropriate adoption of novel endophyte tall fescue technology through education, incentives, self-regulation and promotion. For more resources or to learn more about the Alliance for Grassland Renewal, go to www.grasslandrenewal.org