Ben Garrett Durand, Wisconsin DHI Service Representative AgSource Cooperative Services
What education are you bringing with you to this position?
I went to Oklahoma Panhandle State University where I received a bachelor's degree in animal science with a minor in natural science. I went on to the University of Wyoming where I worked toward a master's degree in animal science focusing on beef nutrition and reproduction.
Please describe your agricultural background.
I grew up in northwest Colorado and have worked in the beef industry. I spent a lot of time at my grandfather's ranch, as well as raising livestock at home. I worked my way through college at the university farm as well at a livestock auction.
What territory will you cover?
My primary area is west-central Wisconsin including the counties of Buffalo, Trempeleau, Eau Claire, Clark, Jackson, Wood, La Crosse, Monroe, Vernon, Crawford, Richland, Juneau, Adams and Sauk. I will also support the southern half Minnesota, but I am always available where my services are needed.
What are your new responsibilities?
I help both direct members as well as independent association members by providing technical support to our field technicians and to producers on everything from interpreting DHI reports to utilizing on-farm management software. In addition, I will actively promote our products and services, while providing training to our field staff.
What previous positions have you held?
During my six years with AgSource, I have held the positions of field technician, regional support specialist and regional support specialist. Previous to AgSource, I was a customer service representative for a national trucking company based in Wisconsin. While living in Colorado, I was the wildfire mitigation specialist and wildfire education coordinator for Eagle County.
Who has made the biggest impact on your career?
My grandfather is my inspiration, and my wife is my motivation. Without these two people, I would not be where I am today. My grandfather instilled hard work and the love of production agriculture, and my wife keeps me focused on my goals and helps me to achieve them. Also, my previous manager, Jim Garofalo, gave me a chance to show my abilities.
How will you be of most help to producers in your region or area of expertise?
I have great problem solving skills and I am open to change. I believe that producers will benefit most through my ability to accept, promote and implement new technology that will help advance the industry.
Why did you choose this company?
AgSource's mission statement meant a lot to me: "Provide products and services as effectively as possible to maximize the profitability of members and customers worldwide while maintaining a strong cooperative." I believe that a company that backs up its members and helps them to be more profitable, rather than just selling products, is a company that will be sustainable and provide long-term solutions.
What goals would you like to accomplish while in this position?
I hope to help as many farms become more profitable as possible. With the never-ending demand for production agriculture and the greater amount of constraints that producers face, they need every tool that they can get. I hope to help advance those tools and help the producers use them.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself continuing to work closely with producers and staff in every level of my abilities. I hope to eventually be part of the development of new and better ways to utilize the information that we collect for producers on a daily basis. PD