Ag Sales and Growing Challenges in the Grain Industry

Like in so many other industries, the ag and grain industry has seen its fair share of obstacles in the past few years.  

From the pandemic and supply chain issues to the talent shortage, organizations across the ag industry have been hard-pressed to lead their organization successfully through a clouded future.   

In light of the mounting adversity facing the industry, one factor continues to emerge as the true differentiator: hiring great people.  

As a premier recruiter of executives and professional-level talent in the grain industry, Ag 1 Source has noticed how so many of the unique challenges can be solved by top salespeople.  

In this blog, we’ll explore what we’ve learned about recruiting within the grain industry since the pandemic, what organizations have been doing right (and wrong), and how you can set yourself up for success and acquire top ag salespeople. 

During the Pandemic, 25% of Grain Employers Had the Right Idea 

When the pandemic first hit, about 75% of the organizations we worked with hit the pause button on their hiring efforts.  

And we don’t blame them. Our own company grappled with the question of how to proceed amidst so much uncertainty.  

But because of this, a door opened for the other 25%. With so much stagnancy, that group was able to capitalize on the inactivity and grow their teams with top performers who were ready to make a move. 

When things get difficult, many organizations tend to get their feet stuck in the mud waiting for circumstances to clear—which leaves the door wide open for other more aggressive companies to acquire difference-making talent.  

As ag sales cycles approach, even during trying times, the companies that move first and fastest tend to win.  

Many Grain Employers Wait too Long to Contact Ag 1 Source 

When navigating challenges in the industry like those of today, we often see organizations waiting too long to jumpstart their hiring efforts.  

Those that may be a little too cautious, once they realize they need to continue with their sales plan despite the uncertainty, call us only to find the already limited talent pool has dwindled even further.   

While hitting the pause button is certainly a defensible and natural reflex in the face of adversity, we tend to see the organizations who stick to their vision, stick to their business plan, and add world-class ag salespeople before their competitors enjoy the upper hand in the war on talent. 

Fewer Professionals in Ag Sales are Willing to Spend Time Away From their Family 

As in all well-laid hiring plans, understanding the mindset, behavior, and desires of the talent pool is crucial. Since the pandemic, we’ve noticed a tremendous shift in the attitude of many of our ag sales candidates.  

After spending more dedicated family time during the pandemic, many among our network are emerging refocused, reenergized, and feeling more effective—even in roles with the long hours and strenuous seasonal demands of the grain industry. They’re contributing this paradigm shift to an increased work/life balance.  

In most cases Ag salespeople realized they can get just as much work done locally, requiring less travel overall. Of course, for workers who are willing to travel, there are many opportunities, but fewer are willing to apply for roles with extensive travel. 

Keying in on this sentiment and capitalizing on the moment will be critical for companies looking to add fresh, capable talent in the coming months.  

Working With an Ag Sales Recruiter for the Grain Industry 

In such a critical and competitive field, choosing the right recruiting partner can be just as important as choosing your next hire. At Ag 1 Source, our experienced recruiters work alongside you to understand your vision, your culture, your challenges, and your needs to provide talent solutions that produce value for today and years to come. Contact us today to get started.  


For more on this topic, check out this podcast from Mark Waschek, President at Ag 1 Source.