Matthew Paul recently joined the AgVenture family, taking over the role of general manager. We sat down with him to talk about his background and what he’s looking forward to most about working with AgVenture.
Hey Matthew, welcome to the team! Before joining AgVenture, what was your career background?
I worked in a variety of industries starting out on the accounting and corporate finance side of business. My industry experience included agriculture, ethanol, finance, banking, manufacturing, etc., so I had a pretty broad scope of different industry experience. But ultimately I decided I wanted to go back to ag. I grew up on a farm in Southwest Iowa, and I really enjoyed working in that industry, so I went to John Deere and spent three years working on financial modeling and investment analysis on a variety of projects.
After that I was approached with an opportunity within Pioneer, and for the last five years I’ve held a lot of roles within Pioneer. I was head of finance for Western Business Unit, which was essentially the Missouri river and everything west of that. I then had a chance to come back home to Iowa and work with the PROaccessSM group. Since AgVenture is part of that network, I was able to work with the previous GM, Dave Treinen. on various projects with AgVenture and meet some of the Regional Seed Companies (RSCs). This really gave me a chance to understand AgVenture’s unique model, how they went to market, and how the RSCs operated.
I am very excited about the opportunity to work for AgVenture. I feel like farmers are looking for that trusted resource with the knowledge and service level that AgVenture and RSCs are uniquely positioned to provide, so I was excited to accept the position.
What attracted you most about the AgVenture model?
AgVenture’s business model is very unique to the seed industry and has proven itself time and again. Commodity prices had a big upswing, and they’ve come down over the last few years. So that puts pressure on not only the acres, but the inputs farmers are using. Quite frankly, I think there’s a lot of advice out there (not good advice) about minimizing input costs and buying cheaper seed, get by without a fungicide, skip a nitrogen application, and survive the crop year, etc.
I think AgVenture is unique in that it looks at those challenges in a totally different way. Now more than ever, it’s important to maximize yield, and when we do that through the right locally advanced and tested products, the right scouting with nitrogen and fungicide applications — and we do all those things at the right times to maximize bushels — that’s what’s going to provide value and profit to the grower.
How do you think AgVenture is uniquely positioned to achieve success in the current seed industry climate?
I think the Maximum Profit System is the differentiator for AgVenture. There’s a lot that goes into that, but I think the way we go to market with MPS positions us to be a unique voice, a trusted resource, and hopefully someone growers turn to for making those difficult decisions.
What are you most excited for about starting with AgVenture?
I’m excited to start working with the AVI employees and supporting RSCs and their growers. It’s been fun getting to travel with Chuck and Frank and Scott and starting to form those relationships. I’ve also been out in the Kentland office and will be traveling back again in December for our employee Holiday party. I think that’s the neat part on the employee side — just getting to know people. And from a business side, I’m excited to support the RSCs. I think it’s critical to travel and see what makes them unique and get a chance to have that conversation at the RSC locations. And if they have questions and concerns, I want to be able to have an open dialogue.
What are some of your early priorities in this role?
I’ve been traveling the country getting to know the RSCs. I was down in Memphis in October for an MPS session, and was just in the Quad Cities for another one. I will continue my travel to other RSCs I have not had a chance to connect with and head to Florida for our owner’s meeting at the beginning of the year. Outside of that, there is a lot of interaction back with DuPont and PROaccessSM on long term business plans and support for AgVenture, as well as working with my team to continue to support the RSCs and establish a clear path forward for success.
My two boys Christian, 7 and Micah, 4, have quickly adapted to the AgVenture brand!