Befriended at work
When farmer Luís Parra in Argentina receives our seed, it has traveled more than 1,000 kilometers. Our commercial manager Alfonso Callegari delivers it personally. This way, their business relationship has developed into a friendly one.
Sometimes a trip ends in an unplanned adventure. On this particular day, Alfonso Callegari is crossing a riverbed in his pickup truck. He finds himself stuck.
The river is not new to him. But the water is higher than usual that day - and continues to rise. In this area, he only knows the farmers he has set out to meet. He reaches for his cell phone. Only a few moments later a farmer gets onto his tractor, drives off and pulls Alfonso Callegari's pick-up truck out of the water.
Another time, Alfonso Callegari is on his way with a customer between the farm and the field when the farmer stops near a river at a truly breathtaking place, "that no tourist would ever get to see". The farmer just wants to show him this secret place for a moment.
"This mix of work, shared experiences and trust, that's the key to our closeness with farmers," says Alfonso Callegari. "It's part of my job to build these good relationships."
Appreciation through closeness
One example is farmer Luís Parra, who runs his cattle farm in Patagonia with pasture and corn feeding. Here, at the end of the world, the distances between farms are long. "For the farmers, it feels good when someone supports them with knowledge and visits them and spends time with them. They appreciate that," says Alfonso Callegari. "I love what I do, and it's part of my job."
He has been going to Luís Parra's on average every three to four months since 2008. When he brings seed, Alfonso Callegari first loads his pickup truck at a dealer in Bahía Blanca. By then, the seed has already traveled more than 600 kilometers from our factory in Manuel Ocampo near Rosario, west of Buenos Aires.
Another 300 kilometers later, Alfonso Callegari reaches the town of Luis Beltrán in the province of Rio Negro. It is probably the longest distance in the world that a seed from KWS travels to reach a customer. Like an oasis, the area lies in the dry south of the country. The river's water makes it possible to irrigate pastureland and corn fields for cattle breeding.
Business relationship turns into friendship
"In the beginning, I had a purely business relation with Luís," Alfonso Callegari recalls. "But it's not like I just deliver seed or give advice and that's it. Of course, consulting is the main goal. But I always try to also find a personal approach." Therefore, common interests quickly changed the relationship with Luís Parra. "You're out in the fields all day for advice, giving tips and answering questions. Of course, at some point you also talk about other things and not just work." For example, both are passionate about field work, animals and - of course - soccer.
From Buenos Aires to the countryside - for a good reason
Alfonso Callegari grew up in Buenos Aires. There he began to study agriculture. At the age of 18, he moved to Balcarce, four hundred kilometers south of the capital, and finished his studies to become an agronomist. That was in 1997.
He has now been with KWS since 2001. In the first few years, he moved from Balcarce even further south, to Patagonia - another common ground with Luís Parra. At that time, the focus was still on pasture farming. "Little by little, we then established corn," which, as animal feed, now accounts for 90 to 95 percent of KWS' main business in Argentina.
In his sales zone, Alfonso Callegari visits sixty to eighty customers a year - each of them two to four times in twelve months. Immersing himself in their individual situations and helping them with problems is "what I love".
And the Argentinean also enjoys the long drives to his customers: "I've always liked being on the road, and now I can be on the road. I manage my time, can think in the car, see mountains here and rivers there." In addition to closeness, he then feels another value of KWS: independence. |
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