Laura Vink’s journey to her role as the Sales and Marketing Coordinator with Climate FieldViewTM seems as though it just fell perfectly into place. Her mother, an educator, was raised on a farm, and her father, an IT manager, had a curiosity for technology. Laura’s parents instilled the importance of understanding and appreciating both farming and technology from a very early age.
Growing up in Wallaceburg, Ontario, farm land surrounds the community. Laura explains, “Any time I was with my mom heading out to my grandmother’s house on the farm, she would always quiz me on crops. She wanted me to be able to identify the different crops and have an appreciation for agriculture.” Her mother’s family initially raised cattle, but eventually turned to cash crops that her uncle continues to farm to this day.
While her mother’s side of the family was involved in farming, her father gave Laura her introduction to technology. When she approached him for help, “He would always ask me, ‘well, what did you tell the computer to do?’” This pragmatic approach to technology early on, set Laura up for a lifelong appreciation of, and fascination with, the medium.
Her entry into the agriculture industry wasn’t direct, however. Following in the footsteps of both her mother and grandmother, Laura received her Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto and taught secondary school for five years in Chatham-Kent, Ontario. Her husband Joe, who completed his masters in weed science, secured a position with Monsanto, now a division of Bayer, that required the couple to move west, so Laura decided to explore other career options.
Joining the Monsanto family herself, Laura was hired on as a Customer Care Representative where she would speak directly with farmers and dealers regarding Monsanto products and services. During that time, her husband was the Weed Management Technical Lead, so the couple found themselves having more frequent conversations about what farmers were doing, the problems they were facing, and how they could best be resolved.
“It actually brought us closer together,” Laura says, as she and Joe would talk about solutions and industry development on their commute to work.
After working in Customer Care for over a year, Laura was eager to try something new. She soon moved into a marketing role where she was responsible for organizing trade shows, and gained procurement, invoicing, and marketing experience.
After the birth of their daughter, Laura and Joe moved back to Ontario to be closer to family. Unable to transfer her position back to her home province, she decided to explore another avenue in agriculture. It was at the Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock, Ontario where she met the Climate FieldView team, a meeting that eventually led to her becoming the new Sales and Marketing Coordinator, which perfectly suited her interests and skills. In this position she plays a host of supportive roles, from organizing trade shows and meetings to preparing educational materials, supporting the sales and marketing teams, communicating with dealers and farmers, pushing through marketing tactics, and maintaining relationships with agencies.
Laura’s first introduction to the Climate FieldView platform was similar to any farmer using it for the first time, she explains, “It’s like when you get your first iPhone®, you think ‘this is cool, there’s a lot here, so where do I start and what do I need to do?’” After experimenting with the scouting tool, she found that once she got the hang of it, it was actually quite easy to use. “Just like any new technology, though, you can’t be afraid to try new things and discover things for yourself,” says Laura, “You get out of it what you put into it.”
The “How To with FieldView” events that Laura helps organize makes the introduction to Climate FieldView virtually pain-free. Held in the spring and fall and capped at around seventy-five attendees per event, these conferences not only help to build a community of farmers that can share tips and tricks and support one another, but provide practical information on how to set up the tablet, use different features, create prescriptions, perform crop trials, and use the data to make better decisions for the farm.
Laura feels in the time she’s been working with Climate FieldView, the platform has come such a long way. “It’s transforming agriculture, absolutely,” Laura says, “Saving time and sharing data directly with retailers or business partners without having someone come to the farm is such a huge benefit to farmers. We all crave more time, and the evolution in the way that FieldView™ can help people save time will be like the difference between the flip phone and the Smart Phone,” she explains.