Jon Tanner - Commercial Director

A day in the life

Who are you and what’s your role at Agrovista?

Hi, I’m Jon Tanner and I’m the Commercial Director here at Agrovista. I’m responsible for managing all our agronomists – comprising arable, fruit, glasshouse and vegetable teams – ensuring they have all the tools needed to give our customers the best technical service available. I also look after Agrovista’s marketing activities and our Customer Service team.

How did you get into this career?

By accident really! I grew up living next door to a farm and spent every waking hour as a child making a nuisance of myself until I was old enough to be useful. After a brief foray into the City I graduated from Harper Adams and joined an agricultural merchant where I spent five years in a number of commercial roles. I then spent 15 years in the food industry - as a Director of Rank Hovis flour mills followed by five years running a sugar business - so I’ve never been too far from the farm gate. After the sugar business was sold I had a chance meeting with the CEO of an agronomy business and the temptation to return to agriculture was too strong to resist!

 

What does your job typically involve?

There are two key elements really. As part of Agrovista’s Leadership Team I work alongside the business’ other Directors defining our strategy and then designing and implementing our plans. On a day to day basis my key role is to ensure all our colleagues can deliver the best customer service possible whatever their specific job. We have sales teams from Elgin in the North of Scotland to Liskeard in the South West so I’m familiar with the UK’s service station network!

What's the best part of your job?

There’s nothing better than meeting a customer and listening to how a true partnership between them and their agronomist is delivering great results. We operate in an increasingly challenging market place and I see open and honest transfer of knowledge as vital in really delivering value to our customers. Agriculture is populated with fantastic characters and, despite the occasional road bump, there is typically a work hard, play hard ethos within the industry which keeps a smile on your face!

What’s most challenging?

Farming is changing, and the speed of change is likely to increase - that’s something which I believe we all recognise. The current regulatory environment linked with the uncertain political outlook clearly poses a number of issues for both Agrovista and our customers, but it is one we’re looking forward to embracing. On a day-to-day basis our key message is about demonstrating real value; we’re constantly challenged to reduce costs, but our ethos is, and always will be, to deliver the best technical advice first and foremost. The right advice and, subsequently, product selection should always deliver the best return for each and every one of our growers – it’s not just about how much we spend!