This is My Story – Gary Csöff, Product Marketing Manager
October 26, 2018
When Gary Csöff recalls his earliest memories growing up on his parents’ farm in Walsingham, ON, it seems like he’s describing several different lifetimes. The speed of change since his youth in the 1990s has been dizzying, and year after year, the Product Marketing Manager has been perfecting the art of adaptation. As a kid, Gary remembers the family operation as a tobacco farm, where the whole family would come together for lively dinners before checking the drying kilns at nightfall.
“I was the runt of the family,” Gary jokes, “Every day, regardless of what was going on in the field, we always ate together.”
As the markets changed, so did life on the farm. Soon after, the Csöffs transitioned to cash cropping, with a side business running a roadside corn stand. It was around this time in Gary’s life that he started to take notice of the importance of open communication.
“My Dad was always a part of a lot of producer groups,” Gary explains. “He was often the one talking on the farmers’ behalf.”
Meanwhile, Gary had been cultivating a healthy interest in technology.
“I used to have these remote-control cars, and I used to love taking them apart and trying to figure out how to make them go faster,” Gary says. “Then we got these things called cell phones. We had a Bell tower on our property, so we started out with the old analog flip phones. Now, ten years later, it’s been interesting to have watched them adapt.”
The farm, technology, communication – everything was changing rapidly around Gary as he moved through the University of Guelph into a job working for a seed manufacturer in Perth County. Before long, his career was evolving just as fast. In a few short years he had worked in both Eastern and Western Canada in technology development and agronomist roles. Then Gary started hearing about the Climate FieldViewTM platform.
“The first time I tried the FieldViewTM drive, it was in the middle of harvest,” Gary recalls. “I took it out into the field and within 10-15 seconds it started picking up yield data. For it to start working so fast was just a ‘wow’ moment for me.”
These days, Gary helps FieldViewTM users experience their own ‘wow’ moments.
“Every time I’m able to help a farmer to visualize something or get more insight into their operation – to me those are all victories,” he says. “That’s what keeps me going.”
As Product Marketing Manager, Gary’s day-to-day is directly linked to how farmers use FieldView. From educating farmers and dealers, to suggesting improvements to the platform, every day is all about evolving digital agriculture to reach its fullest potential.
“I like to compare digital ag to how music has changed over the years,” he says, “In that transformation, I think FieldView will be a game changer.”
Gary also recognizes that, while new technology like FieldView is creating big shifts in agriculture, the conversations about farming is also shifting among consumers. With pressure rising on farmers to provide more levels of transparency about how their products are grown, it seems the only thing that hasn’t changed since Gary’s childhood is the communication gap between producer and consumer.
“Consumers want to know more about where their food is coming from, and I see FieldView being at the forefront of that,” Gary says, “We’re able to help farmers, globally, collect data about their farms, and those numbers are translatable across the world.”
Of course, as it goes with farming and technology, Gary’s career still isn’t finished evolving. These days, he’s a graduate student at University of Guelph working towards a master’s degree in Plant Science. He’ll be defending his thesis on Subsurface Drip Fertigation at the end of this year. Furthering his education hasn’t held him back for a moment, though. After all, life for Gary Csöff has been a long series of upgrades.
“It’s always interesting how ideas in technology and other ideas can be brought into agriculture,” he says, “It’s just taken a bit longer in farming, but now it’s coming full bore – and that’s been exciting to watch it over the last few years.”