Life In The World’s Breadbasket: Egor Kirin Of Agro Club On 5 Things You Need To Create A Successful Career In The Farming and Agriculture Industries

“Be able to adapt easily. The agricultural industry is not a static one; it still depends on Mother Nature, market prices, government regulations, and one’s physical stamina”.

So what does it take to create a successful career for someone looking to enter the farming or agriculture industries? In this interview series, we are talking to leaders or principals in the farming and Ag industries who can talk about the future of modern farming and what it takes to create a successful career in the farming and agriculture industries. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Egor Kirin.

Egor Kirin, 35, began his career as a business analyst at Monsanto (now Bayer) and rose to executive positions leading countries and regions in his late twenties. And at the age of 31, he left a successful corporate world to start his own business, Agro.Club, that brings tech solutions to the conservative ag industry.

In 2021, Agro.Club was named one of the best agriculture apps by CropLife Magazine.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Working in agriculture around the world and across the full value chain, I saw firsthand all the inefficiencies that farmers, input manufacturers, retailers, and grain companies had to face, no matter the size or location. I became a believer that advances in technology provide an amazing opportunity for all to improve productivity and make the food supply much more secure in a sustainable manner.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this fascinating career?

The most interesting story is the number of pivots one has to take when creating a product. As they say, the only source of knowledge is experience. So every time you think of your product, keep in mind that in half a year you might have to turn it upside down to correspond to new market needs.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

  1. Always find the way.

Building a fast-paced corporate career is hard; building a fast-growth company from the ground up is even harder. There are numerous occasions to give up and come up with a list of all the perfect reasons why you have reached your limit. And everyone’s limit is different; some are on Step 2, while others are on Step 100; as a result, there are so few successful entrepreneurs, and over 90% of start-ups fail.

I had my ups and downs at Agro.Club, especially during the early stages when we were attempting to find the infamous product-market fit. I remember one time we had to approach a very important customer over 100 times before convincing them to work with us and not taking “no” for an answer.

  1. I’d rather try and fail than regret not trying.

Leaving a wealthy corporate world to start my own business seemed daunting and risky, but I have never regretted that decision. Life is worth living; opportunities are worth taking; attempts to change something for the better are worth making.

  1. I’ve also learned to let go — fast.

My entrepreneurial life made me learn to let go. It was either about people who didn’t fit in with our culture or pace, or about ideas and projects that didn’t gain traction. It is critical to be decisive and act without hesitation because waiting wastes precious resources.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

One of my favorite phrases that applies to both my professional and personal lives is:

#There are always reasons to win, and there are always excuses to lose. You choose!

People find a way to succeed and turn negative factors into advantages in every situation, even the most difficult ones. And then there are others who would complain about everything and explain why failure was the only possible outcome. Of course, everyone loses, even the most talented and hardworking people; however, one’s attitude is what separates true lifelong winners from losers.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the farming industry. The idea of farming has a very romantic and idyllic character to it, especially to some people living in a busy cosmopolitan context. Do you think now would be a good time for younger people with no farming history to get involved in the farming industry? Can you explain what you mean?

It’s hard not to cite D. Eisenhower here: “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles away from the cornfield.”

I’m sure it’s always a good time for younger people to get involved in farming. Out of agriculture, cities and civilizations grew, and because crops and animals could now be farmed to meet demand, the global population rocketed — from some 5 million people 10,000 years ago to 8 billion today. Farming is also so broad that practically anyone can find a place to apply their knowledge and passion, regardless of their background or physical condition.

Where should a young person start if they would like to “get into” farming?

As our inner poll revealed, the passion for agriculture is usually passed down through the family. But if there’s no one around who could potentially get you into farming, don’t be scared of entry barriers.

There are numerous opportunities provided by the government and the community. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture can help get started through a variety of programs and services (educational assistance, farm loans, crop insurance, conservation programs, and so on). Moreover, the application of technology in agriculture creates new opportunities to participate and contribute to securing the food supply not only in the field but also behind the computer.

With greater attention being placed on the importance of the farming and Ag industries, what do you predict will be different about the farming and Ag sectors, over the next ten years?

It’s always risky to predict the long term, but I’m quite sure about the trends for the next few years:

  • A focus on increasing crop yields to meet growing global needs will continue.
  • A larger use of precision agriculture, primarily to decrease soaring costs on ag inputs.
  • More livestock and crops will be monitored by sensors or drones.
  • Farmers will make decisions with big data.
  • A continued focus on sustainability.
  • More players in the agriculture industry will start trading through B2B marketplaces and doing business using various digital solutions on their smartphones.
  • The supply chain will become more connected and efficient.

I’m very passionate about trying to help minorities to become more engaged in gardening and urban farming. What do you think can be done to engage more minorities and people of color in the farming and Ag industries?

Real farming respects hard work, and people in agriculture are open-minded entrepreneurs, so our industry is very welcoming to minorities and anyone who is ready to put in the effort. And most of the barriers and concerns, such as knowledge, financial accessibility, or physical capacity, are being resolved by new technologies and innovation.

We all know that inflation is affecting so many parts of our lives. How does inflation affect farms? What steps have you taken to keep costs down?

Nobody can deny that inflation and supply chain issues continue to put pressure on farmers. Everyone is affected by COVID, geopolitics, disruptions of international trade, climate change, and the energy crisis. Moreover, both growers and grain buyers experience difficulties with ineffective logistics, a lack of financing, opaque deal execution, and price volatility.

With our main product, the global grain marketplace, any registered farmer, regardless of size, can sell crops worldwide. While Agro.Club operational teams complete the full execution process with KYC checks, quality control, logistics, and financing, they make deals very secure and hassle-free. In seconds, embedded algorithms analyze thousands of offers in search of the best supply-demand match, providing transparency on price and availability for both parties.

Here is the main question of our interview. Can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Create A Successful Career In The Farming and Agriculture Industries”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

  1. Prepare to work hard whenever it is needed; this is not a 9-to-5 job.

Farming, grain operations, and seed deliveries happen around the clock, so one needs to be ready to resolve issues that can arise at 2:00 in the morning. When we were conducting our first international grain transactions and the first vessels of grain were loading, our logistics team was working until 4 a.m. two days in a row to ensure everything went smoothly for the farmers and buyers.

  1. Be able to adapt easily.

The agricultural industry is not a static one; it still depends on Mother Nature, market prices, government regulations, and one’s physical stamina.

  1. Good management skills.

A farm is an extremely complex environment with a focus on more than one type of activity at a single moment.

  1. Think outside the box, be an entrepreneur in everything you do, and be able to properly use new agricultural technology.

Farming is a fascinating and fast-paced industry where one needs to think fast and find creative solutions to continue to be relevant and add value.

  1. Stand behind your words.

A lot is based on trust in farming, and it is a long-term game, so if you did not deliver seeds in time for planting or trucks to pick up grain did not come on time, you can create big issues for the farmer and cause a massive domino effect, which the farmer will remember for a long time. So following through on your commitments is extremely important in agriculture, but my advice is to “do what you say” wherever you work or live.

You are a person of significant influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

The power of small things: doing something small but consistently can produce massive results. No matter if we are talking about physical exercise, helping someone, or using less to do more. Every little thing counts, and if we all do something good every day, the world and society we live in today will be a much better place for our children to live in in the future.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Follow us on LinkedIn or stay tuned to our News section on our corporate website

This was very meaningful, thank you so much, and we wish you only continued success.