Ben Kelly always knew he wanted to dedicate his life to working in agriculture. But he didn’t want just any job – he was determined to work for the best.
“As a kid growing up in agriculture that’s the ultimate – to work for a company that you see as a leader,” said Ben, who is now Production Systems Manager (Precision Agriculture) with John Deere Australia and New Zealand. “I saw John Deere as being the absolute leader in machinery production.”
As a young engineer, Ben joined the company’s Graduate Program and quickly learned he wasn’t limited to the speciality he’d studied at university – in fact, he was also encouraged to work in different areas of the business. “I looked at John Deere as a pathway to a career in engineering and I have now evolved from a technical and engineering background into precision agriculture and the marketing side of the business. “It’s given me a real opportunity to grow my knowledge and grow my understanding of the industry, and to take my career wherever I have wanted to go.”
Over 15 years, Ben said he has learnt how different roles at the company can “have an impact that changes agriculture”. “As I evolved in my career, I started to understand that the higher purpose John Deere is working towards is helping farmers and agriculture to become more sustainable. “I think it’s really important that we are helping and contributing to that whole industry and towards bringing them into a sustainable future.”
A diverse and challenging work environment has kept Ben enthusiastic about his job which includes marketing large agricultural equipment into production systems such as sugar, cotton and small grains. For Ben, every week is different. “One week I’ll be at a field day talking to customers about our equipment and the value it can bring to their farming operation. Then, the next week, we’re actually out on-farm with customers, talking to them about their challenges, their problems and seeing if we can come up with solutions to help solve those problems. “Then there’ll be days when we’re in the office working on strategy to go to market and how we really can help impact the industry in a positive way.”
He said working for a large global company has meant there are always opportunities for staff seeking out their next career challenge, including travelling across Australia, New Zealand and the world. Ben said those travel opportunities will return once international borders reopen, especially for graduates who show leadership potential. “John Deere is a leader in the industry and we have a responsibility, I feel, to continue to help the industry evolve. So we’re looking for those future leaders in agriculture who will help take our business, and our customers, to that next level in agriculture. “I think the best thing about working for John Deere is that they care and everyone cares, genuinely, about the outcomes for agriculture as an industry and also individual farmers. “You work with a lot of like-minded people who are very passionate about what they do. That just makes it easier to come to work every day.”
Even after 15 years and a diverse range of roles at John Deere, the most satisfying part of Ben’s work remains heading out into the paddock and working with farmers who are putting food on tables in an ecologically-conscious way. “I think it’s really close to the heart of every person who works at John Deere. “One of the most satisfying things is driving away from that visit and leaving the farm gate knowing you’ve solved or helped overcome a problem in a customer’s business.”