“From a young age I knew I wanted to be in agriculture, but I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do within the industry specifically.”
Madison was like many students. She had a general idea of the direction she wanted her career to go, but wasn’t sure which road to take and what the final destination might actually be. Joining the Agribusiness Development Program at Richardson International after graduating, Madison was exposed to many facets of the company’s operations. Those learning opportunities set Madison on the right course for a successful career.
After hearing about job opportunities at Richardson at the University of Saskatchewan Agriculture and Bioresources Career Fair, Madison accepted a position as an agribusiness assistant at the Richardson Pioneer Dunvegan location.
“Richardson has the best program for university graduates. The Agribusiness Development Program was my big deciding factor to work at Richardson,” explained Madison.
New graduates in the Agribusiness Development Program are exposed to all areas of the Richardson Pioneer business, including agronomy, credit, crop inputs, transportation and logistics, quality assurance, merchandising, and sales. They also spend time at Richardson’s corporate head office. With a focus on mentoring and coaching, the goal is help graduates identify a career path and transition to a permanent role with the company.
“When I first started in the Agribusiness Development Program, I thought I wanted to be on the grain side with merchandising or sales,” said Madison. “But then when I saw the agronomy side and getting to be outside and working more with customers around their coffee table, it really did pull my interest the other way to agronomy.
“Getting that hands-on experience made a huge difference in directing my career path.” Madison has been a Sales Agronomist for almost three years.
“My favourite part of my job is getting to be outside,” said Madison. “We get to work with a lot of great growers. That’s the most rewarding part.”
Skills in Action
Madison grew up on a farm and knew she would stay close to the ag industry after high school. With an agribusiness degree from the University of Saskatchewan, Madison minored in field crop production, taking courses like soil science, weed science, field scouting, and crop protection – all of which have helped her as an agronomist.
In her roles with Richardson, she’s also learned about grain marketing and has developed both her sales and customer service skills.
Making an Impact
“In my agronomy role, I get to see all aspects of the business from the start of the season, planning the crop, all the way to harvest,” said Madison. “It’s cool to see how what I’m doing is affecting our entire business, whether that’s deciding what products we bring into the location, all the way through growing the crop to seeing how that affects our grain contracting.”
Madison feels challenged by her role and that pushes her to continue to expand her knowledge and experience.
“There’s lots of opportunity at Richardson for continual learning,” she explained. “There’s so many conferences we’re able to attend, like Growing for Success, the internal agronomy conference we have every year.”
She also knows those learning opportunities lead to more open doors.
“Richardson is always looking to promote people to different positions if you’re willing to try something new. If you thought you might like to be a grain merchant one day or if you don’t have a background in agronomy – they are willing to give you the opportunity to get that training to get you towards that position. There are so many avenues that you can go down with Richardson in terms of career opportunities.”
Word of Advice
Madison’s advice for students considering Richardson is to ask a lot of questions, including attending career fairs offered by post-secondary institutions as a great place to get information.
And her advice for new Richardson employees?
“Keep an open mind. Put yourself out there,” suggests Madison. “Really good things can come from it.”