This is My Story: Kerran Clements, Regional Services Manager
July 17, 2019
Kerran Clements has been working in the agriculture industry since the day he graduated from university, but it was his high school horticulture teacher, Mr. Mossip, who Kerran credits with his love of plants and everything they can do for us. “I blame him for giving me the bug and helping me see the cool side of plants and understanding just what role plants and agriculture as a whole play in civilization: how we function socially and how we need them to survive physically.” He quickly dove into the industry and hasn’t looked back since.
While Kerran’s been with The Climate Corporation for nearly two years, his background in agriculture spans not only a decade, but two continents. Born and raised in New Zealand, Kerran graduated from an agriculture-focused university with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in biology and minoring in genetics.
He worked for a fertilizer company and as a corn agronomist before he and his wife – a Canadian – moved to Canada where he worked at an independent agriculture retail. Enjoying their life in Edmonton, AB with their two girls – Piper, 4, and Adeline, 2 – Kerran and his wife haven’t had a reason to leave Canada. “We’re spoiled for choice whether we live here or in New Zealand,” he said.
After three years in Canada working in ag retail, Kerran moved to Monsanto, now Bayer, where he worked for three more years as a technical agronomist. It was during this time that he was introduced to Climate FieldView™, which was still pre-commercial in Western Canada at the time. During a training session in Saskatoon, he was exposed to the Climate FieldView platform, which had been up and running in the U.S. for a year or two.
“I just remember sitting in that room and seeing everything up on the screen and thinking ‘this is huge, and this is going to change the way that agronomy services are delivered and that farmers are keeping track of their inputs and applications’,” he said.
While the platform was first launched in Eastern Canada, Kerran recognized that it was going to have a “massive impact on agriculture,” so he kept in touch with his contacts working with FieldView. Once it expanded to Western Canada, Kerran applied for his position as Regional Services Manager and was “handed the golden ticket.”
Kerran’s role as Regional Services Manager perhaps sounds a little unassuming – his region is, in fact, the entire country. Kerran liaises with Climate Business Managers across Canada to ensure that everyone on the team is aligned and successful in promoting and working with the platform with both dealers and farmers. He works with the product team to ensure products are pushed to market efficiently, works with and manages key accounts, engages with head office, and is involved in large-scale strategic efforts, charting the direction of the business and market expansion. While he and his family live in Edmonton, Kerran travels regularly, with much of that travel taking him out of Canada to touch base with Climate’s U.S. offices.
FieldView’s platform and the possibilities for digital ag into the future are exciting for Kerran: “I love how fast it’s moving.” While with seed sales you’re limited to one season per year, digital technology allows for new products and features to be introduced to the industry at any time.
In fact, Climate updates their FieldView apps regularly to “make the product better, make the product faster, remove bugs, increase equipment compatibility, change the way we show satellite imagery – there are so many options to make things better every single week,” Kerran explained.
Just since he started, FieldView’s platform has improved exponentially. “If we look at what The Climate Corporation ultimately stands for – providing digital tools to help farmers make better, smarter, and more efficient management decisions on their farms – we’re doing that and we’re getting better and better at doing that every single week.”
The possibilities for the future are seemingly endless, and while features like satellite imagery and prescription writing were once cutting edge, the push to new and better technology is really what gets Kerran fired up: “it makes you dream and get a little giddy thinking about what it can be three, four, or five years from now.”
Perhaps his favourite feature of the FieldView platform is its ability quantitatively and qualitatively run trials on your farm, making data collection and management far easier for farmers. As an agronomist, Kerran knows that, despite a farmer’s best intentions, the busy life of managing a farm can make effectively running trials quite challenging. But, with FieldView, “if you have a product inquiry, you’ll know what day it was sprayed, what the weather was like, how fast you were going, and that is just so invaluable,” Kerran explained.
“Having that at your fingertips and accessible anywhere you have an internet connection on a smart device, there’s massive value in that, rather than having to dig through the binder that sits behind the tractor seat.” Being able to easily collect, manage, and analyze field data and yield reports “changes the way you think and changes the way you farm.” There is so much value in the data made available to farmers, which not only allows farmers to quantify what they’ve always known but “just makes us better stewards and better farmers at the end of the day.”
“I love my job every day … I think we have a lot to offer,” Kerran said. With Monsanto’s acquisition by Bayer, he finds they now have greater access to better highlight the products they have to offer farmers. The technology itself is also something to get excited about. Being able to introduce farmers and dealers to the possibilities – especially with the massive growth of technology over the years and in real-time – is astounding.
“A lot of the possibilities of technology are still being understood, so one of the things I really enjoy is standing in front of a room of people who maybe haven’t had a glance into the future before, and not only explaining what is possible today, but what is possible tomorrow,” he explained.
From advancements in accessibility to resolution packages that can provide images down to the centimetre, technology is allowing for huge advancements in the way we farm: “You can figure out a lot of things if you have that kind of granularity – from identifying weeds to identifying bugs from drone images.”
The future of digital agriculture is expanding and Kerran is excited to be on the forefront with FieldView, testing new things this season that could be launched as early as the end of 2019.
Until then, Kerran stays busy not just with his work life, but with an active family life. From hunting in the summer to go skiing in the winter to visiting his family in New Zealand, “there’s never a dull moment in our house – we’re always chasing after the girls or chasing after ourselves.”