This is My Story: Chapin Bell, Climate Business Manager
April 23, 2020
Chapin Bell, or Chaps as he’s known to his friends and coworkers, never thought agriculture would be his calling. After all, he didn’t grow up on a farm. He couldn’t drive a combine. And he’d never milked a cow. But it was a chance encounter that got him into the industry he’s come to love. “I had a family friend that worked in Ag for over 30 years….He said would you ever consider agriculture? And I said “You know, I’ve always been intrigued, but I don’t farm”. So, he set me up at a local retail just outside of Winnipeg. It was supposed to be a job just to get me through university but after one quick season I went to my boss and said “I love this job, I love the industry, I love the people in it – would you ever consider hiring someone that’s not from a farming background full time?” His boss gave a resounding yes, and now, looking back, it was one of the best decisions he’s ever made.
Chapin joined the FieldView™ team out of Winnipeg in November, 2019 as Climate Business Manager (CBM), making him the new kid on the block. And while the title isn’t all that specific, the job certainly is. “I work with Regional & Territory Sales Managers, retails and agronomists to help service our growers that are currently using FieldView as well as show the value of going digital to the growers that are not using FieldView or any other platform. I also manage our Climate Activation Team (CAT). These are our team members who visit growers and help them get their equipment setup and ensure they are comfortable with the platform.”
Prior to that, he spent six years with a local retail in Manitoba, where he worked his way up from “the day-to-day grunt work” as he fondly remembers it, to a role in management. Ironically, he met his girlfriend Jill who works as a nurse, the same time he got into Ag. “I always joke that two good things happened in the same year.” Together, they share a love for the lake, the Winnipeg Jets and travel. It’s a passion that’s taken them to Europe and more recently, Central America.
While Chapin hasn’t been with the Climate Corporation for long, he saw the potential in the platform to improve the lives of growers from the beginning. “With FieldView, we’re trying to make growers more sustainable and more profitable. The world’s acres are status quo, so I think it’s about making sure that we’re getting every bit of profitability and every grain possible from that acre.”
“My first week on the job I was sent down to the San Francisco office. They have a team that travels across the States and Canada where they ask farmers what they’re looking for in a platform. It’s nice that they’re actually asking growers directly what they’re wanting to see ” Chapin explained.
From a day to day perspective, Chapin sees himself as more than the “digital farming guy”. In fact, he acts as an extension of the sales managers, retails and agronomists he works with on a daily basis. I’m helping them engage with FieldView, know the platform, support them in how FieldView works best for each farmer.”
“It’s not like I’m the hidden guy nobody ever sees. I like to get out on the road as much as possible and make sure farmers know who I am and put a face to the awkward name.” Chapin joked.
With new innovations being added to the platform, seemingly every day, Chapin can’t help but be excited for what’s to come. “I think it’s going to get to the point where the data they’re collecting will recognize what it’s picking up and start giving farmers suggestions to make their operation more sustainable. I keep saying sustainable, but that’s the end goal right?”
Chapin went on to say, “I always tell people that this is never going to replace an agronomist, because you need to have boots on the ground, but it can help the agronomist and help the grower together. I think that’s the ideal.”
And while Chapin is loving the job so far, getting the FieldView story out to growers has had its pain points as well. “The main challenge is the data privacy. I make that clear from the get-go that it’s 100% grower owned. We’re looking to give you a tailored solution that is going to better your farm,” Chapin observed.
As the FieldView team continues to look for ways to improve the lives of growers across the country, he can’t help but look forward to being part of the FieldView family for the long haul. But in the end, for Chapin the reason he believes in the future of FieldView so strongly is simple. "Digital farming is the way of the future for the industry and FieldView is leading the charge. Being part of the FieldView team has given me the amazing opportunity to meet growers from across the prairies, learn more about their farms, and help introduce some of them to this digital world.”
“What gets me excited about farming is it’s farming! We’re always going to need to feed the world and I’m happy to be playing a small role to help as part of FieldView.”
We couldn’t agree more Chaps. We couldn’t agree more.