LIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson

West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag retail customers. We caught up with Dean Hendrickson, vice president of marketing and business development, who shared details about the academy in this exclusive Q&A.

Dean Hendrickson West Central Distribution
Dean Hendrickson

CropLife: What is the new LIFT Agriculture Academy?
Dean Hendrickson: Officially launched Tuesday, February 28, the LIFT Agriculture Academy is an exclusive training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag retailer customers. It provides leading agronomic information, presented in a monthly course format focusing on distinct areas of grower needs.

Ag retailers who participate in the Academy will have access to a new course each month. Twelve courses throughout the year, covering a variety of topics that provide cutting-edge education on agronomy and industry technology.

Our goal is to offer leading content from both an agronomic and salesmanship standpoint. With this our aspiration is to reinforce the science, innovation and technology in the industry that they can take to their growers.

CL: What motivated West Central to launch the academy?
DH: Agriculture is a competitive industry. West Central wants their ag retail customers to be able to provide their farmer customers with the best advice about products and services so they can be trusted advisors for their customers.

A retailer’s world is constantly changing with advancements in crop nutrients, crop protection, seed and seed protection products and nutrient management. There are also new advancements such as new trait technology, precision ag and other advancements that continue to increase the number of different things ag retailers need to be educated about.

LIFT AcademyOngoing training is very important to ag retailers who want to maintain and grow their business. West Central wanted to provide its ag retailer customers with the opportunity for further education in an extremely efficient and convenient method by providing the LIFT Academy as a user-friendly format and a supplement to the in-person training opportunities we will continue to offer.

CL: Why is it important for West Central’s ag retail customers to participate in the academy?
DH: For agriculture retailers to run a successful agribusiness, they need to understand what products do, but also realize that it’s equally important to know how to identify their growers’ needs, and effectively position the appropriate solutions for them.

The best sales agronomists need to be skilled at handling objections, and sharing how grower expenditures will generate a positive return on investment.

CL: What are some goals for the academy this year and into the future?
DH: The overall goal of the LIFT Agriculture Academy is to continue to provide West Central ag retailers with quality education to help their overall business and grower relationship to increase their bottom line.

CL: Any other comments regarding LIFT?
DH: The key elements of the LIFT Agriculture Academy will include:

  • Courses with leading agronomic content (e.g. “Starter Fertilizers – A Crowded Space, How To Differentiate”).
  • Content will be provided in a broad array of options ranging from narrated presentations and podcasts, to tech development bulletins (also known as Agronomy Updates) and “In-the-Field” video blogs, plus recorded video courses from in-person training sessions.
  • After each course, ag retailers will be tested to ensure they understand the agronomic and product knowledge so they can share that knowledge with their customers to drive and boost sales.
  • Ag retailers will be recognized for passing each course with a certificate of completion.

The first two courses now available on the LIFT Agriculture Academy will cover starter fertilizer and seed treatment.

For more information, visit liftagacademy.com and/or view the introduction video below.

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