Fresh out of college and the world at their fingertips, Justin Hunter and Wyatt Westfall wanted nothing more than to use their agronomy degrees from Iowa State University to help farmers. Returning to their agricultural roots, both joined the Stutsman agronomy department in January 2021 as developmental sales agronomists.
“We want to get them experience and to know our customer base,” said Bill Parchert, VP of fertilizer services. “They’re working with current agronomists to learn about the company and how we do things.”
Stutsman isn’t a new name to Hunter or Westfall. For Hunter, his dad and grandpa have been Stutsman customers with their family row-crop and cattle operation just east of Iowa City. Westfall on the other hand is a familiar face around the Stutsman campus; he started working in the shop following ninth grade and continued throughout high school as time allowed. In 2018, Westfall was even selected as one of our crop scout interns. He also joins his dad as a Stutsman employee.
With their personal experiences of the Stutsman brand under their belts, the learning doesn’t stop. As the agronomist’s duties change with the seasons, Hunter and Westfall will continue to gain experience as opportunities present themselves whether that be in operations, protectants, nutrients or seed.
Understanding both the customer service and operations side will help Hunter and Westfall provide the best recommendations to their customers in the future. In their first month, they have spent time focusing on customer service, getting operations experience, organizing seed deliveries and attending agronomy meetings.
“We’re learning new things each week that we can use to assist farmers,” said Westfall. “And it allows us to stay up to date on what’s going on in the field of agronomy.”
They know that the learning process doesn’t happen overnight and the timeline for when they pick up their own customers is dependent on them.
“We want them to gain practical experience, build on their backgrounds and education, and learn from the other agronomists,” said Parchert. “They are learning by doing and are working toward gaining trust of our customers.”
When the day comes and they start building their customer list, they’ll be ready to serve for success.
“I want to be able to use what I’ve learned and my experiences to be the best agronomist for the company and my customers,” said Westfall. “I care about the customer’s success and want to take care of individual’s needs.”
It’s not surprising that Westfall, a fourth-generation row crop producer, has his sights set on helping customers be successful. Much like Westfall, Hunter also grew up valuing production agriculture and is ready to listen to customers’ needs.
“People want to be heard,” said Hunter. “By listening to customers and having the working knowledge, exposure to operations and our product line, I can more efficiently and effectively meet farmers’ needs.”
Solving problems quickly will take looking beyond the obvious solution at times. There will be hurdles to climb but both have set goals to continue to learn.
“I want to do my best to stay up to date with new technology,” said Westfall. “I want to be knowledgeable on different technologies and be able to provide recommendations if it’s a good fit for customers and their operation.”
For now, there are more questions to be asked and experiences yet to gain. However, Hunter and Westfall’s passion for agronomy will bode well for serving Southeast Iowa growers for success.