“Mafia” can be defined as a closed group of people in a particular field, having an influence. But what if that particular field was really a field? And what if that influence was positive for those around them — both online and in person?
Introducing, the Ag Mafia.
For many involved in the agronomy retail service, there are often more questions than answers. Three experts from the ag industry are out to change that. Bridgette Readel, Kyle Okke and Jason Hanson together form Ag Mafia, a one-stop-shop for information agronomists need to know.
“We started off as a SnapChat account, and we had this team together behind the scenes with a great name, and it took off from there,” Hanson says. “We all have our own companies and do similar things, but we all decided that Ag Mafia made sense for our expertise and our combined passion for ag.”
Readel shares a similar perspective on the need for their business. “There was room in the market for this to be done differently,” she says. “Folks in ag aren’t attending events as they once did, they may not be getting the resources needed to be successful, and we have that experience. We have a lot of years of agronomy experience between us, so we can bring our knowledge in a different way to those who want to know.”
“This isn’t something you can find online or in a book,” Okke says of their services. “All of our knowledge and passion for what we do comes from our experience in the industry and from the teaching we’ve spent our careers on topics like this.”
So what is Ag Mafia? Ag Mafia offers the education that agronomists, crop consultants, farmers and others in the industry need to know. Bringing better training and agronomy skills to the industry to change the agriculture sector in a different way than before is the main priority behind the creation of Ag Mafia, the three say.
With Okke, Hanson and Readel having extensive careers within wholesale and retail agronomy and the crop protection industry, joining forces to cover this missing piece was a natural next step. Between the three, they each have developed their own specialties within the agronomy industry:
Jason Hanson. A graduate of North Dakota State University, Hanson lives in Webster, N.D. After retiring from his previous agronomy post, he started Rock & Roll Agronomy. He is a certified crop adviser, and finds his role within Ag Mafia comes from hands-on time in the field.
“I’m out in the field; I don’t actively sell anything. My business is kind of a hybrid. I contract with ag retailers in a crop consultant role and also with individual growers,” Hanson says.
His place in Ag Mafia is filling in the technical agronomy piece of the puzzle.
Kyle Okke. Residing in Dickinson, N.D., and a graduate of University of Minnesota, Crookston, Okke shares the passion for technical agronomy. The owner of Agile Agronomy, Okke contracts with ag retailers, creates strategic plans for business decisions, and builds digital content and social media followings for businesses.
“I not only offer agronomic advice to the businesses I work with, but how to help them with their business decisions and strategies,” Okke says.
A large part of his role in Ag Mafia balances between agronomy and digital and business decisions.
Bridgette Readel. An NDSU graduate, Readel lives in Hunter, N.D., and brings selling skills and communication work to the team. She owns Lilac Lane Media, and is the ag director for a local radio station.
“I specialize in the sales training and how to work with the customer base — to be able to be more than the salesman heading out to the field with a price list, and to learn [and] really make that connection with customers,” Readel says.
Her work in agronomist education and training, and customer relations rounds out the trifecta at Ag Mafia.
“We each have our own identities that together build Ag Mafia,” Readel says. “Ag Mafia is the new approach to retail and on farm agronomic sales and consulting. We don’t sell a product, but we’re here to help you become more than someone in a pickup with a price list.”
The three say they want to share the right knowledge in a new approach for the industry. The group will share a series of articles written exclusively for Dakota Farmer.