This is My Story: Lori Yarnell, Climate Business Manager
April 30, 2019
“Data, in a sense, is a liability – it’s really expensive unless you’re using it to make decisions.” Lori Yarnell (Reimer) doesn’t mince words when it comes to the use of technology in agriculture, specifically the use of the Climate FieldView™ platform in helping farmers make the most of their data, their yields, and their time.
While she works directly with producers as a Climate Business Manager for Manitoba and southern Saskatchewan. Lori also has a background in farming herself, having grown up on a family farm in Crystal City, Manitoba, that her father and brother currently manage. It’s this experience in farming, coupled with her research background, that gives Lori the perfect vantage point from which to understand and appreciate Climate FieldView’s potential in changing the agriculture industry.
Research is a passion of Lori’s, and her background makes that crystal clear. After graduating from high-school in Manitoba, she went to the University of Waterloo where she completed an undergraduate degree in Biology. She wanted to blaze her own trail: “how can I do something that’s different, that’s not agriculture related, and try to forge my own path?”. Biology got her interested in plant specialization, and after her undergraduate degree she pursued and completed a master’s degree in plant pathology from the University of Manitoba.
It was her return to Manitoba where she found herself slowly making her way back to agriculture. It perhaps isn’t a surprise that she ended up back in the industry, as “the people in the ag industry are the best in the business, they’re focused on helping their neighbours,” she said. Working together toward a better future is something she’s particularly passionate about, noting that her field of choice is “the best industry to work in.”
While farming may be in her blood, it’s research, innovation, and helping others that really get her out of bed in the morning. She explains that the industry has a negative reputation to consumers, where some see farmers as “being stuck in their ways, doing what they’ve always done, where in truth there’s a lot of innovation and change.”
It’s in that innovation, constant growth, and the search for new and more efficient ways to get things done that make agriculture an exciting industry. For Lori, the difference between a good farmer and a great farmer is “attention to detail” – or learning how to innovate in little ways to become the very best.
FieldView is one of those technological pieces of the puzzle that makes the difference between good farming and great farming – “and that’s a really fun position to be in, knowing that I’m working with a product that is actually going to help make people’s lives better,” Lori said.
Lori first learned about FieldView while working for Monsanto, now Bayer, after finishing her master’s degree. She was introduced to the platform while working in a field sales position, so when an opportunity came up to apply to The Climate Corporation, she jumped at the chance. She doesn’t take her position lightly, either, noting “I feel very lucky that I’m in the position to launch a new product that’s going to be a big success and change the industry, it’s not an opportunity that comes around every day.”
Given that every producer and every farm is different, Lori is cognizant of the need for farming technology to be adaptable to various circumstances, and the FieldView platform fits the bill. The satellite imagery, for example, can help one farmer with a potential drift issue, another can use the platform for trials they’ve never done before, and someone else may use FieldView for record keeping. Not only is the platform suited to a variety of situations and needs, but as a Climate Business Manager, Lori gets to talk directly with the producers using the platform and discuss the ways in which it is brings value to their operations and the ways in which it could be improved upon. It’s this constant growth that not only makes the platform invaluable, but fun to work with: “It keeps building and getting better and it’s exciting to work with farmers that are striving to build it and make it the best possible platform,” Lori said. “There’s a lot of passion with the growers that we work with to help us make it the best platform in the industry. It’s fun to be able to work for a company that listens to that feedback – everyone at Climate Corporation wants to build the best platform for farmers.”
Of the features available, Lori thinks the ability to analyze trials is one of the most valuable. Being able to conduct good and replicable trials is incredibly important to Lori as a researcher, and the ease of use also makes setting up those trials a breeze. She sees this benefit in her own family’s use of the platform, explaining that because they didn’t have an easy way to record or measure them, trials weren’t conducted in the field. But now, with the use of FieldView, “it’s fun at the end of the year to be able to go through the farm with my dad and my brother and see what worked, to be able to put in trials at seeding and spraying and be able to go back and see if a product was a good fit agronomically for our land,” she explained.
So why try FieldView? Well, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the industry is growing, shifting, and changing. And the digitization of the industry may just come a little faster than many growers anticipate, Lori said. “We’re used to a cycle with seed, chemistry, and equipment where once a year there are new products … but the digital side of things are constantly changing.” Getting in on the ground floor will make it easier for farmers in the long run.
“Start today,” Lori suggested. “It’s easy, it’s not a platform that’s going to take days to set up and get the hang of. And if you can import some historical data and get some field boundaries in, you’ll have satellite imagery within a few hours and field level weather right away.”
With this kind of data at your fingertips, you’re able to make decisions to impact the efficiency and output of your operation. “The farmers who learn how to get the most out of their data will be the best farmers – the most productive and most profitable,” Lori said.