In this issue: Mercaris Welcomes Todd Jones
     
                    

Introducing Todd Jones

 

This month Mercaris welcomes our newest team member, Todd Jones. Todd is our Member Relations Associate and he’ll be the point person for Mercaris members who have questions or need assistance with our market data services.

Todd is an entrepreneur himself. Prior to joining Mercaris, he founded a company that provided farm management software for growers. His focus was directed toward small, diversified operations and vertical farms. His software tools allowed farmers to build crop plans, create sales projections, and keep real records throughout the season across the whole farm.Needless to say, his fascination with technology and his love of farming make him a perfect fit for the team. You can read more about him in the interview below and on our website.
 
What are you most looking forward to in your new role at Mercaris?
 
Everything! I’m one of the most curious people you’ll ever meet and I’ve developed a particular fascination for the intersection of food, technology, and agriculture. I consider myself lucky to be in a place where I can earn a living and make an impact by pursuing those interests.
 
I like to tinker and build useful products. You can’t do that by operating in a vacuum. You need to interact with the people who use your product and open yourself up to their input. Some people shy away from those interactions but I relish the opportunity. I’ve already heard from farmers, grain mill operators, and food manufacturers that Mercaris is an asset to their operation and we’ve only begun to scratch the surface. I want to work with our customers to make Mercaris even better.
 
What opportunities do you see specific to identity-preserved agriculture?
 
Growth, growth, and more growth. IP agriculture is only in its infancy. That may be hard to believe since “organic” has been around since the 40s, but there are two main reasons I’m confident this is only the beginning:
 
1. Unique is normal - Technology has enabled the long tail in numerous ways. Access to manufacturing and copacking have led to a greater diversity of products, and information technology has made it easier to market them, too. At the same time, consumers are demanding greater transparency and traceability. All of this equates to more opportunities for identity- preservation.
 
2. Unmet demand/ opportunities for growers - On the whole, agriculture has grown in line with population, however, organic and other IP agriculture has shown consistent, double-digit growth over the past decade.  As consumer demand continues to rise, there’s a pressing need as well as a business and environmental value for growers to increase production.
 
Perhaps the more interesting question to ask is this: How will farmers and value-added processors adapt to a new business environment where diversity and differentiation are a competitive advantage? This is one of the key questions we’re helping to answer for our customers.
 
You once rode your bike cross-country. Any particularly memorable stories from that adventure?
 
I collected lots of good stories on the road (and quite a few of them involve farmers) but one in particular comes to mind. It happened while I was riding through Upstate New York. I had been on the road for only a week, but after riding up and down an endless series of hills that day I was ready to curl up in my sleeping bag and then get on a train back to Chicago.
 
As I rolled up to the camping site I noticed that the whole place was empty except for a man there who was camping with his dog. It wasn’t long before he invited me to join him by the fire. He made me a heaping plate of hot food and cracked open a cold beer without any hesitation. He asked me how long I had been on the road and listened to my stories with a fascination that seemed wistful. It turns out that when he was my age (I was 25 at the time) he and a friend sold all of their possessions, flew to Europe, and bought a couple of bikes. They spent their whole summer exploring the continent - they rode around the Alps, through the Black Forest, over the Rhine.  We kept trading stories until the fire finally died. It became clear to me then, that if I turned around now I’d regret it for the rest of my life. We exchanged pleasantries and I fell asleep as I gazed up at the stars with a renewed sense of determination that persisted for the next 5 months.
 
If there’s anything you can take away from my story it’s this:
1. All of us have more strength and willpower than we know.
2. Good stories and cold beer heal all wounds.

I look forward to bringing that sense of determination, and ability to listen, to Mercaris and our customers.

Whether you’re a grower, mill, or manufacturer, keep an eye out for Todd; he'll be reaching out to you in the coming months. Or, you can contact him directly at [email protected] with any questions on market data you might have.
 
Happy Thanksgiving!
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We're Hiring!


Mercaris is hiring! Join us and help build something great! We're helping to make agriculture more sustainable through better markets.

Here are are open positions. Please visit our website for more information.

Economist & New Markets Associate

Market Operations Associate

Sales Associate


Senior Ruby on Rails Developer 

Upcoming Events


December 4-6, 2014
Columbus, OH
Acres USA-Conference on Ecological Farming
 
December 9-10, 2014
Harrisburg, PA
Growing Pennsylvania’s Organic Farmers Conference

We will be attending the above events. Contact us for more information.
 
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