A father tells his young child about his plans to hand down the family business.

The son looks out at the fields his father works, kicking loose gravel from the dirt. “But this isn’t a business,” the boy says. “It’s a farm. I don’t want to be a farmer some day. I want to be a great businessman.” The farmer thinks on this for a moment. A broad smile crosses his face. “Son,” he begins, a deep pride taking hold in his voice, “there’s no greater family business in America than the business of farming. And one day, if you so choose, I have the utmost confidence you’ll be the greatest businessman in all the land.”


About eKonomics

Contributors

Robert Mullen, Ph.D.

Robert Mullen, Ph.D.

PotashCorp  |  Director of Agronomy

To say PotashCorp’s resident agronomist Robert Mullen is passionate about agriculture would be an understatement. In addition to a B.S. in Ag Business, as well as an M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Science, he has also been published in a variety of books and trade journals. But it’s not just his accomplishments which make him so unique, it’s his unwavering ability to take complex data and — in simple terms — explain how it impacts a farmer’s bottom line. A key contributor to the eKonomics program, he delivers the kind of insightful observations that can lead to a more profitable business.

Nicholas Scates

Nicholas Scates

PotashCorp  |  Agronomy Marketing Specialist

On his family’s farm in Southern Illinois, Nicholas Scates grew up learning the inner-workings of the agriculture industry. This hands-on education set the stage for his successful agronomic career. Scates’ desire to understand the complexities, challenges, and opportunities of farm management continued throughout his formal education. He earned his B.S. in Agricultural and Consumer Economics, and then his M.B.A., from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Having lived and studied the principles needed to feed a growing world, Scates offers a personal and passionate perspective on the farming business. As a top agronomy expert at PotashCorp, he thrives on providing timely information, resources and advice to farmers and ag retailers, so farmers can make smart decisions for their future—and ours.

Cristie Edwards, Ph.D.

Cristie Edwards, Ph.D.

PotashCorp  |  Agronomy Manager

Agriculture has always been an integral part of Dr. Cristie Edwards’ life. She grew up in southwest Virginia and throughout high school, she planned to make her career in large animal veterinary medicine. Once she began college, she chose animal science as her field of study. However, she switched to soil science after her Bachelor's degree and attributes her decision partly to an influential professor who told her that “you can’t understand animals until you understand what they eat.”

She received a B.S. in Animal Science and an M.S. in Crop and Soil Environmental Science from Virginia Tech, and a Ph.D. in Agronomy focusing on soil fertility from Kansas State University. While completing her advanced degrees, Dr. Edwards conducted more than six years of field and lab research. Dr. Edwards has experience in laboratory research measuring volatility loss from urea based fertilizers. Her field research has focused on phosphorus availability and the interactions with tillage and placement. She also has extensive experience in working with large data sets and analysis. Her main priority in her post-graduate career is helping growers to identify yield-limiting factors and fix those issues as cost-efficiently as possible.

Paul Fixen, Ph.D.

Paul Fixen, Ph.D.

International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI)  |  Director of Research

Growing up in southwestern Minnesota on a crop and livestock farm, Dr. Paul Fixen learned the ins and outs of the agriculture industry starting at a very young age. He later went on to get his Ph.D in soil fertility and soil chemistry from Colorado State University in 1979. As the current Director of Research at the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), Fixen has been immersed in the industry’s most cutting edge research over the last 20 years. His vast experience – both domestically and internationally – puts Dr. Fixen in a unique position to offer farming best practices, tips and advice to help farmers make the best decisions to grow their yields, and ultimately their bottom lines.

Antonio P. Mallarino, Ph.D.

Antonio P. Mallarino, Ph.D.

Iowa State University  |  Professor of Agronomy

Since starting his career in 1976 at the University of Uruguay, Dr. Antonio Mallarino has played an integral role in industry-leading agronomic and nutrient management research for nearly 40 years. Currently a Professor of Agronomy at Iowa State University, Mallarino’s efforts focus on soil and tissue testing, fertilizer placement methods, variable-rate technology, and phosphorous management impacts on water quality. Known as the pioneer of precision agriculture technology, his groundbreaking research and contributions have led to several key advancements in agronomy, including the development of the Iowa Phosphorus Index and the Iowa Nutrient Export Reduction Strategy. For his work over the years, Mallarino has been recognized among some of agriculture’s most prestigious publications and associations. Mallarino’s impressive research history, coupled with his extensive agronomic experience, makes him an invaluable resource to help farmers drive their business forward.

Randall J. Miles, Ph.D.

Randall J. Miles, Ph.D.

The University of Missouri  |  Associate Professor & Soil Scientist

Dr. Miles is a soil scientist on the faculty of the University of Missouri Department of Soil Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Agronomy (emphasis in Soil Science) from Purdue University and Ph.D. in Soil Genesis from Texas A&M University. He is Director of the Missouri SmallFlows Wastewater Education/Research Training Center, as well as the Director of Historical Sanborn Field, the third oldest continuous research field in the world. Additionally, Dr. Miles is curator of the Historical Duley-Miller soil erosion plots. With these two historical fields, Dr. Miles’ research has also emphasized long-term sustainability and soil organic matter relationships.

Dr. Fabian G. Fernandez

Fabian G. Fernandez, Ph.D.

University of Minnesota  |  Assistant Professor in the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate

Dr. Fabian G. Fernandez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. His major responsibilities include research and extension education in nutrient management for crop nutrition and environmental protection. Fernandez was born and raised in the Pampas region of Argentina. He earned his Ph.D. degree from Purdue University in 2006, and M.S. and B.S. degrees from Brigham Young University in 2002 and 2000, respectively. Before joining the University of Minnesota in 2013, he had been an assistant professor at the University of Illinois since 2006. The research and extension education programs of Dr. Fernandez are focused on soil nutrient management and plant mineral nutrition. His current work at the University of Minnesota concentrates primarily on environmental issues related to nutrient management for corn cropping systems. He seeks to identify and implement nitrogen management practices that are sustainable both in terms of minimizing environmental impacts, specifically water quality, and improving crop yields.

Mike Dailey

Mike Dailey

Independent Certified Crop Adviser

With more than 35 years of experience in the industry, Mike Dailey, independent Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) and winner of the 2012 Ohio CCA of the Year Award, is proud to work with farmers on a one-on-one basis to give unbiased, professional advice to maximize yields. A graduate of Ohio State University’s esteemed agriculture program, Dailey has maintained his CCA certification since 1994 – the first year the certification was available. In addition, he has held numerous positions in both the government and private sectors, including eight years of service on the Ohio CCA Advisory Board (serving as president for two years) as well as president of the Ohio Association of Independent Crop Consultants.