Work

Sales

Hans-Georg Macke (left) and Johannes Brinkmann (right) are farmers in their normal walk of life, but also work for KWS as freelance consultants. They can be seen here at a rapeseed demonstration with farmer Ralf Grober and his son Tim.

Freelance cultivation consultants

From farmer to farmer

Our sales team in Germany for corn, rapeseed, sorghum, sunflowers and soybeans relies not only on permanent employees but also on freelance consultants who come from the farming community. The team is looking for reinforcements and would like suggestions from the workforce: Who might know someone?

A young farmer, qualified and ambitious, once applied to KWS. He had heard about our freelance cultivation consulting and saw it as an opportunity to earn some extra money, as his father was still too young to hand over his parents’ farm to him.

The young farmer came to the meeting accompanied by his eloquent and shrewd father. It soon became clear that this was not the right job for the son. But couldn’t the lad take over the farm and the father do the cultivation consulting? Both liked the idea. And the father ended up working for us as a freelance consultant for twenty years. “Whenever we met, he always raved: This is my dream job here with you!” says Dirk Gerstenkorn, Head of Sales Germany for Corn and Rapeseed.

The freelance cultivation consultants are usually farmers with smaller farms or younger siblings who do not inherit the farm and have time on their hands after it has been passed on to a new generation.” The beauty of the job for the consultants is that they decide exactly when they work for us.” Typical times are from harvesting to the next sowing season. Their recommendations directly in the fields are sought in April and May.

“It’s important for consultants to have close ties in the region”

Dirk Gerstenkorn

A job for people with character

The number of days they work a year is also flexible. “Some work fifty days, others have a lot more time available,” says Dirk Gerstenkorn. He then assigns the consultants flexibly in their regions under a service agreement. “It’s important to have close ties in the region in order to understand farmers’ concerns and needs.”

However, the example of the father and son shows that freelance cultivation consulting is not suited to everyone. In addition to a good agricultural training, character plays a major role. “You have to be able to reach out to people and have a certain gift for communication. And, of course, at the end of the day it’s also about selling seed,” says Dirk Gerstenkorn. His job is to familiarize people with the art of sales: All employees receive internal training on body language, rhetoric and dealing with difficult dialog partners.

Although the objective is to sell, our colleagues should see themselves first and foremost as advisors who are on the same wavelength as farmers and not as salespeople for KWS. “Our customers should get added value when the KWS consultant visits them,” says Dirk Gerstenkorn. The fact that our freelance employees are farmers themselves is a big help for them. “They know from their own experience what they’re talking about: from the profession for the profession, from the region for the region.”

Search for new freelance consultants

Dirk Gerstenkorn now has just under fifty freelance consultants of all ages. “Today, however, there aren’t so many farmers who have time for a second occupation alongside their work. Most organize their farms in such a way that their day is full.” The number of smaller farms will continue to decline. “That's why we want to attract those that are still available.” |

AUFRUF

Wer kennt jemanden aus dem landwirtschaftlichen Bereich, der Spaß an Beratung und Verkauf hat? Melden Sie sich bei Dirk Gerstenkorn. Er ist für jede Empfehlung dankbar. Im Internet gibt es weitere Infos.

Freelance cultivation consultants

The situation internationally

As in Germany, freelance cultivation consulting also exists in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. For this model to succeed, KWS must be strongly rooted in end customers’ perception – unlike in countries such as France, where sales is handled by dealers. To introduce freelance cultivation consulting, the KWS brand must therefore be known to end customers, and a close relationship must be built up with farms on a broad scale over the years. |

Hans-Georg Macke is retiring after thirty years as a cultivation consultant. He selected and trained his successor Johannes Brinkmann himself. Our video gives an emotional insight into the generational change.

Hans-Georg Macke

“The work is very varied”

What does a freelance KWS cultivation consultant for corn and rapeseed do? What makes this job so interesting? And is it lucrative? The consultant Hans-Georg Macke reports.

How did you become a KWS cultivation consultant for corn and rapeseed?

If the EU hadn’t introduced a milk quota system in the 1980s, I might never have ended up with KWS. But because of it, my newly expanded dairy farm didn’t take up my full working day. I therefore joined KWS as a freelance cultivation consultant.

Why is it worthwhile for you to work as a cultivation consultant?

The work is varied and gives me access to qualified expertise. That also allows me to hone my knowledge and skills. There are various remuneration systems to choose from, which makes it possible for you to control what you earn. I can organize my working hours so that my job as a cultivation consultant and the farm at home can be reconciled very nicely.

What does your work as a freelance cultivation consultant involve?

I visit my professional colleagues in the surrounding area and advise them on all matters relating to corn and rapeseed cultivation. That includes the best choice of variety for the farm, the right sowing time and method, and correct crop management right through to harvesting. I also familiarize farmers with KWS’ digital tools so that they can achieve the best yields from their harvest. Together with my colleagues, I look after trial fields in my area – from sowing to presenting them at the KWS Field Days. All in all, the work as a cultivation consultant is very varied.

What do you like most about the job?

The contact and dialogue with other farmers and the challenge of helping them along are tremendous fun. I also appreciate the cooperation with my KWS colleagues, who are always on hand to provide support in word and deed. |


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