Jennifer Lytch isn’t a teacher in a traditional classroom, but she’s committed to educating the community on using best practices in agriculture. As the Marketing Representative for The Andersons, Inc. Plant Nutrient Group, Jennifer promotes agricultural products made by her company to American farmers. Jennifer believes that being environmentally responsible is everyone’s job. She feels the corporate farmer and your neighbor next door should know how to properly use fertilizer.
While The Andersons, Inc. has several divisions including grain, ethanol, plant nutrient, rail and retail, Jennifer’s focus is the Plant Nutrient Group. This division develops agricultural products to help plants grow. Jennifer’s main role is to promote who The Andersons are and what they do, plus their products and services. She promotes their brand to the agriculture and turf industries.
Jennifer knows that fertilizer helps to feed the world. According to the United Nations, the world population will increase by two billion people by the year 2050. That is an extremely large increase of food requirements. Plant nutrients will be a vital part of being able to meet the needs of feeding the population. Farmers rely on fertilizers to keep soil productive. Soil combined with fertilizer produces more crops than soil alone. In this way, the fertilizer industry helps nourish soils that in turn, nourish people. Jennifer says, “We feed the plants that feed you.”
In Jennifer’s role as Marketing Representative, she works diligently to promote the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program. The 4Rs provides guidelines for farmers to follow when applying fertilizer. The guidelines help farmers ensure they are utilizing the right source, at the right rate, at the right time and right place when applying fertilizer.
In Jennifer’s day-to-day life as a marketing “rep”, she spends quite a bit of time on the road. She promotes The Andersons’ products at trade shows, meetings and conventions. Although she is not assigned to a particular region of the country, she focuses primarily on the southeast area of the United States. She meets with potential clients (farmers and golf course superintendents) and goes over an in-depth explanation of the 4Rs. She sends out customer satisfaction surveys because serving the customer is the primary focus of The Andersons.
Jennifer had a head start in the agriculture industry. Her family has been involved in the plant nutrient business since before she was born. In middle school Jennifer had a science teacher that brought learning to life. Her teacher facilitated participation in numerous hands-on science projects. In high school Jennifer joined the FFA (Future Farmers of America). She participated in programs revolving around horticulture specifically, and participated in local fairs to learn more about the agriculture industry.
Jennifer’s participation in FFA gave her a foundation in agriculture as well as great leadership skills. Her family gave her the passion and initial interest. Then members of FFA and friends in the industry helped to mentor Jennifer. She feels she has received so much that she wants to mentor others and give back too. She participates in Ag In The Classroom, an organization which promotes careers in agriculture to young children. She recently participated in Ag Literacy Day where she was invited to read a book about agriculture to second graders.
While Jennifer loves her job, it is not without its challenges. Jennifer says that pressure to limit the use of fertilizers in certain areas is increasing. Legislative, regulatory and non-government organization activities, including legal action pertaining to nutrients in the environment, are taking place on national, regional, state and local levels. Another challenge is time management. Prioritizing your time is essential for a successful career. Time management helps keep you on track, while keeping things in context, and helps you focus on quality work.
While Jennifer was required to have either a degree in marketing or business for her role at The Andersons, Inc., she also cites a passion for agriculture as a requirement for her work. Jennifer believes agriculture is a great industry in which to work, and would like to promote working in the plant nutrient business. She encourages young people interested in this field to join their FFA chapter early. “It’s never too early to start reaching out to find a mentor in the field you are interested in.”
Jennifer says that agriculture is her passion, and she gets to say, “I help feed the world.” She also loves the people in her job and industry who make her feel like she is working with a big family. Jennifer is passionate about her career because agriculture is such an important industry for the world.
*According to the United Nations, we are expecting a population of 9-10 billion people by 2050.