By Chris Nelson, Regional Sales Manager at Conservis
I recently realized that there’s something I’ve had since a young age... I like to call it the gift of gab. I’ve always really enjoyed conversations and visiting with people. I think it stems from my grandparents because as a child I'd have my grandma give me a little coffee cup and I would have coffee with her and her friends. They instilled the value of being friendly and really getting to know people.
I remember at the early age of five or six years old, my family lived in Lake Park, Minnesota in a brand new trailer court, and as the trailer courts started to develop they were consistently pouring new driveways for all the trailer houses. In the mornings, I would get up early, sometimes even before school and I would tell my parents, "I gotta have breakfast, then I gotta get to work.” After I was ready for the day, I would head out and more or less supervise the pouring of the concrete for the driveways for the parking spots. The guy that was in charge knew who I was. I loved to chat with the workers about what they were doing and talk with whoever was around the action. Then I would always come home and tell stories to my parents.
"My love for connecting with people has helped me throughout my career, and it's led me to the best job I've ever had — working for Conservis."
Early career days
From insurance to farming
Fast forward some years... I went to North Dakota State University for a while and decided it wasn't really for me. I then started working with my dad who was in life and health insurance sales, dealing mostly with the senior population.
That really came easy for me, because of my gift of conversation and visiting with people. The senior demographic felt comfortable; it felt like my grandma and grandpa's. I was able to make connections with whoever I was talking with and I did very well for close to 10 years with my dad. Then around 2003, I had the opportunity to become a part of a family farming operation.
I’ve always loved farming. My grandfather farmed his entire life and so I grew up around that, along with my cousins, and all my cousins' farms, helping out when I was younger. I started out with this operation at the ground level, driving tractors and things like that. Slowly, through close to 15 years with this operation, I worked my way up from running equipment to ultimately being part of the operations' management, then becoming head of planting and head of harvest.
Around 2014, we realized we had a need to track our harvest better because our harvest was a mess. We needed to keep track of a hundred different fields including the yields and bushels coming from every field. We desired a way to track where loads were headed, where they ultimately end up, and of course, we needed to ensure we were paid for every bushel. We'd been trying to do it with an SMS system through the tractors and the combines, but it wasn’t accurate, and it didn’t give us all the information we wanted. We learned about Conservis and after talking with them about the farm management software, which at the time was focused on harvest management, we signed up.
Passion for Conservis
It's about building relationships and providing unbeatable support
Something I quickly learned about Conservis is that they truly partner with their customers and form relationships with the operations they work with. I remember fondly our Customer Success Manager. She was the one that helped me to understand the platform. There was such value in almost feeling like I was part of a family, so to speak, and it felt like she was part of our operation.
When we first started working together, she explained something to me. "We're going to make mistakes," she said. "We understand that, but we're going to help work together to correct any mistakes each and every day." So she would call me each morning during harvest and we would take care of unmatched tickets that were coming from the grain cart and make sure we matched everything correctly. We cleaned anything necessary up prior to getting started the following harvest day. It became just a natural thing, every day I knew that I was going to get a phone call from her and we would fix any issues. I knew that between her and I, in maybe five minutes or maybe 15 minutes, we would get everything squared away to ensure we were on the right track.
One day, I didn't get a phone call from her. It was odd. I remember thinking, "Oh my gosh, is she okay?" So I called her.
"Is everything okay?" I said.
"Well," I said, "You didn't call me. We haven't done our reconciliation for the day."
She responded, "Well, you didn't have any mistakes."
I said, "Well, I guess I just needed to call in to say ‘hi’ then." And we had a good laugh. Talking with her had just become part of my morning routine during that harvest, and a relationship had formed.
"It was then that I realized it. Conservis was more than a farm management system. It wasn’t just tech company, but it was a relationship-focused business where people were there to help us and be a part of our operation."
I was in charge of Conservis for three years on the farm, and I became passionate about it.
Then in 2017, I guess it was time for a change and that was a pivotal time for me because I fell in love with my fiancé, Danielle around that same time. She's an incredible people person too and I quickly came to love her children as my own.
Working for Conservis
The perfect fit
An opportunity presented itself for me to work for Conservis as a regional sales manager for the tri-state area encompassing Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. I knew it was a perfect fit for me! It was the mixture of my years of on-farm experience, whether being out in the field or in the back office, coupled with my 10 years of insurance sales with my dad and maybe even going back further to the conversations with people I had as a kid that I remember so fondly. Landing at Conservis for my final destination just made sense.
I so enjoy my job talking to growers about challenges they're experiencing on-farm and being able to offer them holistic solutions it fit their needs. It comes naturally to me not just because I like to talk with people, but because I was in their shoes. I have a sense of the pains that they're dealing with because I was in that position at one point in time. It’s not hard to promote a system that I’ve used and loved, and the opportunity to go and visit with farmers is my favorite part of the job.
"Whatever we do to help growers, it develops into a relationship. It's awesome."
Whenever I sign on a new customer, one of the things I say in a text is, "Welcome to the Conservis family" and I truly mean that. We're different from all the other farm management systems out there in that we feel like a family when it comes to pitching in and supporting family farms. We’re basically giving our growers another employee in their back office! We help them where they want it whether that’s to become better operators, to track field activities more finely, or to better understand financials, whatever. Then we go from there.
I’ve been with Conservis since 2017 and I love what I do. I’m on top of my game, having been with the company for four years. I’m grateful that I work for such a customer-centric organization and I get to use my gift of gab.
Conservis is the leading farm management software system. Get in touch to chat about how our solutions could support your operation.