Even an Agronomist Can Get Sick...

I have to admit, I have had some kind of cold/flu for over two weeks now. I'm not complaining, however; it does make it increasingly more difficult to keep up with my responsibilities at home and at work. While at the office this past Thursday I laid down in the middle of my co-workers floor and mooned for 5 minutes.  Definitely not adult like or professional and probably why I am only in the office two days a week, if that.

So, I am posting an article I wrote for my companies newsletter that is sent to our dealers and customers. It was originally published with edits made to that I did not get a chance to see before it went to print. Frankly, it's one of the reasons I started blogging. I was extremely upset someone took my words, changed them, and  then printed it without my permission under my name. The difference between this time and the one printed in the newsletter, I made the changes not someone else. In this version, I took names out to protect the innocent. Not really, it's because I did not ask them first if I could include them and I want to be as respectful as I can to the people I work with.

So here it goes........enjoy! By the way, I will eventually talk about agronomy. I know all two readers, my husband and I, have been waiting. Maybe I've starting talking about it and I don't even know it.

 It’s Not about Fertilizer

I wrote an article several months ago saying I was on a mission to get to know all of you, maybe not in person, however; through phone calls, emails and maybe visits. My co-worker has often said to me I should be careful what I wish for. At this point in time I have found myself doing more traveling in a short amount of time, then in the past 16 years of my current/former career as a stay at home mom. Maybe that’s why we’re called stay at home moms! That being said, I am definitely not complaining. I am extremely grateful to meet you, be invited to your homes and on your farms, and spend time together.

As I travel from place to place and meet a lot of great people either selling or using the #1 organic fertilizer in the country –remember I told you I had to change the names to protect the innocent- I have been asking them one question. Really, I ask a lot of questions. Sometimes I don’t know who is learning from whom. The question I have been asking in order to write my article is, “Why do you use the #1 organic fertilizer in the country?” There are all kinds of fertilizer companies, even easier and cheaper ways to get products.  “So why #1? What do we have that they don’t? What is it about #1 that you choose to use it in the first place and continue?”

When you ask a question you have to be prepared for the answer! I thought I would get answers like my dad used it so I use it. Aunt Bessy said to and if Aunt Bessy says to you do. Or, it was the only fertilizer on the shelf….ha! We all know that’s not true. I expected to be talking about the fact our fertilizers feed the biology, the very life of the soil, and discuss the principles behind that. I was prepared to talk about the chemistry involved with each ingredient that makes up our blends and the reactions that take place between them and the components of the soil.

Here are the answers I did get. I have had the pleasure of working with the best backyard gardener, from Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. He plants up to 500 garlic bulbs a year. He believes it works. He likes the fact it feeds the soil in order to feed the plant. He likes the fact he can call the office and get answers to his questions.

I had the privilege of traveling with my BOSS –in the office and to his face I am to consider him my teammate/co-worker. He hired me, and to me that makes him at least one of my boss’s- to Florida. Once again, I think I heard…..be careful what you wish for! We spent several days meeting with dealers. While visiting a dealer from the Bradenton area, she said “If you get people to use it right you will have a customer for life because it works and they see the results.” She takes the time to explain how to use it and follows through with education about the products.

Since working at the #1 organic fertilizer company I’ve had the best time talking and working with people on the phone. I recently took time while traveling to a convention in New York to visit farmers and dealers I have had several phone conversations with. My first stop was in Millerton, Pennsylvania. I meant the sweetest couple who have been farming for several years. I spent some time answering questions she had about her greenhouses and once again I turned the tables and started asking them the question…”Why #1?”  Without any hesitation the answer was they chose #1 because of the knowledge their dealer is willing to share with them and the support they get from their dealer and staff from the main office.

From there I went to Livonia New York and had the honor of meeting a farmer that has been working with one of my colleagues for several years. I spent some time talking with her about some projects she is working on and did it again…started to ask her the same questions I have of everyone else.  We sat on a bench overlooking Lake Conesus and she told me it was the way he treated her like she was just as important as a large scale farmer. He always answered her questions no matter how much they seemed out of place; bring her to a better level of understanding improving her knowledge so she could ask better questions making her a better farmer. When she was working with him he said one thing to her that will stay with me. His statement was, “We want you to have your best year. “ Then laid out a plan for her to follow and succeed with. Her success was important to him giving her the confidence she needed.

Over the next several stops I kept asking and listening. There was a common thread throughout the entire trip……the service, the knowledge, the support and the results. It all starts with people. Not once did I hear anything about the fancy packaging, or marketing materials, or the great pens and trinkets. It was all about the people. The one’s who answer the phone, answer the questions, share their knowledge, make the fertilizer, bag the fertilizer, and sell the fertilizer. See, it’s more than fertilizer. It’s like minded people coming together working at their part for a common goal of caring for the earth. I feel we are given the privilege to be stewards of the earth, no matter if you live in the city, the suburbs, or the country. If you have a corporate job, a blue collar job or a farmer, even back yard gardeners count too. People ask me if my husband hunts. I think it’s because we live in Pennsylvania, I’m not really sure though. However, I explain he does but it is for car parts in junk yards. Even he has a part in taking care of the earth!  Cleaning up one junk yard at a time and organizing it in our garage, neatly at least.

#1 is about fertilizer, hence the name-not the fake name #1. The real name I'm not using to protect the innocent.  However, it goes beyond that, it’s the people.