Vector offers startup funding, commission-based compensation and business coaching for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Pfister Seeds is introducing Vector, a program that provides young farmers with a direct path back to the farm and an immediate opportunity to put their ag education to use. The Vector program is designed for agricultural upstarts and provides selected applicants with startup funding, commission-based compensation and business coaching to manage their own seed company using a proven business model.
Pfister Seeds General Manager, Brad Damery, said the company developed Vector to fill a critical gap in today’s farming environment. “Vector is a win-win for farming communities and young farmers. It allows communities to benefit from the next generation of farming talent, while providing young farmers with a revenue-generating seed business. Essentially, Vector makes it economically possible for young farmers to return to the family farm right away,” Damery said. He added that Pfister named the program Vector because of its literal definition – “to guide with magnitude directly to a desired point.”
Pfister Seeds is rolling out the Vector program in Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota and Missouri. The program’s implementation follows a successful pilot program that included agriculture educators, Pfister Seeds district sales managers and a core group of young farmers that will increase in number as the Vector program grows. “Response to the pilot program was overwhelming and confirmed that Vector can play a huge role in helping young farmers get back to the farm. Due to the response, Pfister is committing significant resources to expand the Vector program,” Damery said.
Vector startup funding is intended to help cover expenses typically incurred during the first three years of business, such as a pickup truck, forklift or laptop, and is provided to participants in addition to a commission paid on each sale of Pfister corn and soybeans. Business coaching is an integral part of the Vector experience. Each participant engages in hands-on group training sessions and works closely with a Pfister district sales manager using a proven business model that has been used to grow more than 1,000 local seed businesses. They also get the opportunity to share ideas and learn from other young, successful entrepreneurs who were able to get back to the farm.
Vector participants enjoy the program’s flexibility and the income potential it presents. “The best part is being able to control your own success and schedule. Vector’s flexibility means I can be on the farm during the season’s most critical times, and my family appreciates that,” said Austin Granby, a sixth-generation farmer who studies agriculture business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Another Vector participant, Heath Huisinga, noted that the program is challenging and rewarding. “It takes a lot of hard work to get customers to trust you with their seed decisions, but I’m up for the challenge. It’s been very rewarding and fun to see how much my business has grown in just one year, and I strive to be a successful pillar of my community,” he said.
“Selecting the right seed is one of a farmer’s most critical decisions in an increasingly complex business. The technical expertise supporting Vector’s young farmers benefits not only their own farms, but other farmers in their local communities,” Damery said.
The Vector program is open to individuals 18 years of age or older, and while many participants have spent their life on a family farm, farm residency is not a requirement. Additional information on the Vector program, as well as an online application, is available at www.pfisterseeds.com/vector/.