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Best of NAMA 2020

Editor's note: With the shot of new life the biofuels revolution has given the ag industry, the demand is high for skilled employees. We invited leading agri-marketers representing different business segments within the industry to share how they go about recruiting and selecting new staff members for their organizations.

by Sara Duncan, Media Associate, Corporate Communications

Monsanto is an agricultural company with approximately 17,000 employees. We apply innovation and technology to help farmers around the world be successful, produce healthier foods, better animal feeds and more fiber, while also reducing agriculture's impact on our environment.

We routinely seek a cross section of professionals for the following areas: R&D; Biotechnology; Genomics; Breeding; Crop Teams; Chemistry; Sales and Marketing; Seed Production Operations; Information Technology; Finance; Legal and many other departments. We offer very competitive salaries and an extensive benefits package.

Please visit our Career section located at for an updated listing of U.S. job opportunities. For jobs outside of the U.S., we encourage you to contact the Monsanto Company directly; you will find the worldwide addresses listed under the About Us section on our corporate home page.

In our recruiting endeavors, we make a special effort to tap into organizations and external resources that have the ability to provide and identify qualified candidates. We regularly partner with organizations on career or recruiting advertisements and in some cases events during conferences.

For professionals who want to begin a career in agriculture, Monsanto also offers internships in Technology, Animal Ag, Commercial, Finance, Manufacturing/Seed Operations and Purchasing. We also offer co-op assignments in IT & Supply Chain Management.

Interested candidates are encouraged to visit our Job Openings area of the corporate Web site ( for a listing of current openings. If you do not find a job here that matches your qualifications, we invite you to add your resume to our database. We use behavioral-based interviewing techniques in our interviewing process.

One opportunity for us is to continue, as we have done, to make diversity a priority. Diversity is something that is a business imperative for Monsanto; we're developing a pipeline of talent to be competitive inside and outside the agriculture industry. By broadening our employee population we tap into a wealth of experiences and backgrounds to bring new innovative ideas and viewpoints to the table.

by Anne DeLee, Director, College Relations and Professional Staffing

ADM is the world leader in BioEnergy and has a premier position in the agricultural processing value chain. ADM is one of the world's largest processors of soybeans, corn, wheat and cocoa. ADM is a leading manufacturer of biodiesel, ethanol, soybean oil and meal, corn sweeteners, flour and other value-added food and feed ingredients. Headquartered in Decatur, IL, ADM has over 26,000 employees, more than 240 processing plants and net sales for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2006, of $37 billion. Additional information can be found on ADM's Web site at

To achieve our strategy to be the global leader in BioEnergy while expanding our premier position in the agricultural processing value chain, ADM will need people with exceptional talent, expertise and passion for the future.

ADM recruits for interns and entry-level positions in the following areas: Accounting, Commodity Trading & Elevator Management, Engineering, Grain Terminal Operations Management, Internal Audit, Information Technology and Specialty Areas.

Typically, ADM will recruit 30 full-time employees and 10 interns in Grain Operations Management and about 20 full-time employees and approximately 20 interns in Grain Trading. Overall, the internship program seeks over 100 interns each year.

Interested candidates may visit ADM representatives at career fairs around the country, or they can simply log on to our Web site at and visit our "Careers" section to learn more.

Each candidate will typically apply online at or may apply during an onsite campus visit during a career fair. Qualified candidates will then meet with members from Human Resources for an interview and also with the appropriate hiring group.

ADM looks for people with exceptional talent, expertise and a passion for our future. With $1 billion in capital projects underway at ADM, an ADM engineer, for example, can expect: hands on responsibilities for leading people, opportunities to solve challenging problems, possibilities for rapid advancement, in addition to possibilities for international assignment at our oilseed and cocoa facilities although most of our assignments tend to be in the U.S.

This "hands on" experience is also an element of our internship program. For example, our commodity trader interns learn the fundamentals of the business by embarking on an intense 10 to 12 week internship program at one of ADM's commodity trading locations. This exciting opportunity exposes students to the many aspects of buying and selling commodities in the cash market, and results in a truly meaningful hands-on experience. In addition, opportunities for future advancement throughout the Company are readily available as an ADM Commodity Trader.

by Colin Meyers, Executive Director, Food Animal Business

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., headquartered in St. Joseph, MO, is a subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation, based in Ridgefield, CT, and is a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies. Since 1981, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica has been a leader in biological research, product development and manufacturing for the worldwide animal health business. Our core U.S. business is focused on the swine, cattle, equine and companion animal segments.

While many other animal health companies are restructuring due to fewer livestock producers and other changes in the industry, Boehringer Ingelheim is adding significant personnel resources in the areas of sales representatives and field veterinarians.

For a diversified global animal health company, managing growth is always a challenge. Especially during periods of consolidation, finding, attracting and retaining talented people is the most important factor in the long-term success of any company.

Over the past two years, the Boehringer Ingelheim sales and marketing organizations have seen significant growth. We currently are hiring a number of new sales representatives and field veterinarians for the pet and swine divisions of our business, further expanding our field force over the next year.

For the right people, there is tremendous opportunity in the animal health sector. However, you have to have a passion for the industry and a willingness to become very involved in our customers' businesses. As a livestock biological company, we become significantly more involved in our customers' businesses, creating the opportunity to engage in a consultative selling process.

Our two primary methods for finding new team members are the strategic use of recruiters and networking. Our protocol for interviewing candidates involves a formal process of pre-screening followed by successive interviews with a hiring team. Each member of our hiring team questions the candidate on a unique set of criteria and reports the results to the rest of the team.

BIVI also looks for the right chemistry among team members. It's important that everyone on the hiring team agrees that the candidate will fit into the culture of our organization. The ability for our sales staff to utilize multiple human resources in the consultative selling process is critical to our success as a product and service provider in the animal health industry.

Today's animal health industry is a unique and highly competitive marketplace. Unlike many sales opportunities on the human health side, our field force must become intimate with the end-user of our product. Our field sales representatives and veterinarians are constantly working toward developing a long-term relationship with customers, to provide long-term business solutions.

Because we are a global company with animal health operations around the world, the opportunity for interaction between our U.S. team and our global technical and marketing teams is becoming more important. As a result, we provide a tremendous career opportunity for individuals who have an understanding of and a passion for food animal production.

For career opportunities with our team, please visit our Web site at

by Barbara Warda, Director, Human Resources

Rhea & Kaiser, headquartered in Naperville, IL, with a branch office in Durham, NC, is a full service, integrated marketing communications agency servicing the agricultural marketplace. We specialize in brand-building and integrated communications with an eye on the present and a view on the future.

Rhea & Kaiser continually has new job openings for ag-related positions to service our growing client needs. On-going career opportunities include entry level to occasional senior level positions. Presently, we have openings for ten new team members.

We recommend that applicants contact our Human Resources Department about opportunities
at R&K, or check our Web site to learn about entry and mid-level positions.

For senior hires, we first survey our current staff for names of possible candidates. To discover new
talent outside of staff referrals, we utilize a select group of recruiters who have made an effort to understand the personality and needs our agency and the tight specifications we require of qualified job candidates.

For entry-level candidates, we rely heavily on college fairs and developing relationships with career placement representatives at leading universities from which we have hired in the past. We encourage interested candidates to submit resumes at any time, particularly since hiring needs don't always coincide with semester schedules. We often conduct informational interviews with the intent of getting to know a person for possible future employment.

New candidates go through at least two rounds of interviews. First, we start with a pre-screen telephone interview conducted by a key team member. Then, we invite the candidate for on-site interview with the team and senior management. We occasionally list employment opportunities on .com bulletin boards but we have had a lesser level of success with this approach.

We often employ writing tests to understand how the candidate thinks and writes. We feel this approach makes good use of the time for both our team and the potential candidate. We feel strongly that we do not want to waste the time or incur the expense of bringing an individual into Rhea & Kaiser unless there is genuine interest on both sides to continue the discussion.

Through a thoughtful selection process, we believe that we have assembled the most talented team of individuals in the ag communications business. This said, finding and sourcing quality people is a constant challenge in what we feel is a shrinking field of qualified talent.

Because of the highly specialized nature of our clients' businesses, we are constantly challenged to find individuals who 1) really know both integrated communications from a communications' agency's perspective and 2) individuals who really know and have a reasonable grasp and aptitude for our client's business.

by Vicki Berka-Davis, CFO/Human Resources Director

Bader Rutter & Associates is a 150-person agency headquartered in Milwaukee, WI, with a branch office in Lincoln, NE. For a number of years, we have been the largest agri-marketing agency in the country. We provide a full range of strategic and tactical services including: brand planning; public relations; advertising; direct marketing; sales support; digital/interactive; and market research.

The supply of qualified personnel with ag experience continues to shrink. We have been fortunate to locate, hire and retain our core agricultural talent. Currently, we have two openings for a PR leader and a copywriter.

To find new talent, we do just about everything. We attend college fairs; run classified ads; hire recruiters. Mostly, we continue to find the best prospects through good old fashioned networking. We also offer $1,000 hiring rewards for any current associate who brings a new associate onto our team. That has been quite successful as well.

We typically start by vetting the resume. Then we conduct a phone interview. If all seems to be a green light, the next step is to arrange face to face visits. Typically, there will be at least two face to face interviewing sessions.

We strongly encourage our applicants to interview us as aggressively as we interview them. We are after long-term relationships and there is nothing worse in our business than to lose someone after only a short tenure of employment.

Our approach is also very straight forward. We discuss compensation levels up front before both parties invest a bunch of time. If all seems a green light, our final step is to check references both supplied and third party. Because this is a relatively "small" world of agri-marketers, we typically know of someone who has worked with our prospective candidate and find their input to be invaluable.

One of the challenges we face is this: the talent is out there, but getting them to move is proving increasingly difficult. More and more we find two-career couples who must look at the situation holistically. Or we find that the prospective hire wants to be close to the family farming operation.

Over time, we believe that more and more we'll need to go where the talent is, and not expect them to be physically located in our headquarters. We have already done that with nine of our associates. It works best if they can spend a year or two in our "factory." Our success rate is much higher when that happens.

Technology is a great enabler but it still does not replace the need for frequent human interaction. Our business is still based on teams and cyber land takes you only so far.

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