Lance Larsen, Precision Ag Specialist
Lance Larsen is the expert most growers first encountered when they started working with the Innovation Center. Lance was the original Precision Ag team member who visited each operation, identifying and solving growers’ problems to get them back up and running. As time has passed, Lance has helped build a strong team of Precision Ag experts to help grower-customers stay running strong.
Growers recall when Lance was the main specialist available and how the team has since evolved. One customer, Jerrad Hoffman of Hoffman Farms in Bowdle, says, “The team at the Innovation Center is pretty darn good. Lance is in the office a lot more now and they’ve been sending a couple different guys out here – but each one is just as good! It’s as great now as it was in the beginning when Lance had to do everything himself. My philosophy on it is simple: if you need anything, they can get it done.”
Lance wasn’t always involved in farming. In fact, he grew up as a city kid in Groton, South Dakota. But through FFA and 4H, he found he had a passion for agriculture at a young age. In school he studied diesel technology, determined to pursue a career in agriculture but knowing he could use his degree in other industries in case it didn’t work out.
Well – it’s worked out. In fact, the Innovation Center wouldn’t be what it is without Lance.
Immediately after school, Lance worked for a few different farmers truck driving, raising hogs, and doing whatever needed to be done. After a few years, Lance joined the cooperative in the Precision Ag department.
When Lance came on board, there were three precision ag technicians on the team, with Lance as the main expert taking care of customers in the field. Lance explains his experience: “The thing I like best about working with growers is solving the problems they’re dealing with and seeing the relief it brings them. To be able to help them and keep them running strong is a feeling I can’t even explain. It’s incredible to work with them and help them with whatever they need.”
Being with the Innovation Center since its opening, Lance has also built strong business relationships with growers near and far in South Dakota. “We have the best customers you could ever ask for,” Lance says.
These experiences and grower relationships have helped shape Lance’s idea of what to look for when hiring new team members at the Innovation Center. Lance explains, “I want someone that is easy to deal with. I want to work with someone personable. Even if they don’t interview well, if I get that feeling that they’ll fit into the team, that’s the person I’ll go with.”
One of the newer team members is Richard Jensen, who Lance hired for an internship while Richard was still in school. After wrapping up his internship, Lance offered him a position to join the team in a full-time role.
“Richard gave me the feeling that he was the one that would fit in best with the team. He never ceases to amaze me with what he can accomplish. No matter the task you throw at him, he just goes for it and gets the job done.”
Lance places high value on the abilities of the Precision Ag Specialists at the Innovation Center and the years of experience they bring to the team. Lance says, “One of my more experienced team members is Garret, who came from the application side of the company. It blows my mind some days to see what he’s capable of accomplishing. There’s nothing he can’t figure out with a computer.”
Lance has made sure every single expert on the team fits the bill – they must be determined, optimistic, and willing to do whatever it takes. And once they’re on board, Lance trains his team to exceed customers’ expectations. He says, “It doesn’t matter what the issue may be. If you have to help a grower out by running a combine, jumping in the planter, or operating a sprayer, it doesn’t matter what the task is, we’ll do it. We’re going to do whatever it takes to help our growers be successful.”
Understanding the vital role that each team member plays and their unique expertise is critical to how the Innovation Center serves its customers. Lance describes the team as a whole, “Each person on the team has their own role. There isn’t another team around that I know of that has the diversity we have, along with the backgrounds we have and the experiences we’ve dealt with. The Innovation Center without the team as a whole would simply be a parts store and that’s it. The members of the team and their expertise and right attitude make the Innovation Center what it is.”
Lance has a lot of pride in his team – and for good reason. The experts at the Innovation Center are an incredibly hard-working, skilled group of people that push limits and find new solutions to even newer technology issues. Lance explains, “The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of the team is – they’re second to none. There isn’t any other Precision Ag team or group of individuals like us. If we went into a head-to-head competition, there isn’t another team that would stand a chance against us.”
Are you an expert who has what it takes to join the team? Or are you a grower interested in learning how the Innovation Center can help your operation stay running strong? Call Lance at the Innovation Center today – he’ll point you in the right direction.