A Job Involving Desk Work, Field Work and Customer Contact.

Eiko Tjaden works as a crop growing consultant at AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG

Eiko Tjaden - crop growing sales consultant

Following his university entrance qualification and alternative civilian service, Eiko Tjaden initially intended to study medicine, but then chose agricultural sciences. The 28-year-old crop growing consultant is currently with AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG. In the interview, he explains what made him get into agriculture and what his job with an agricultural trade and services company consists of.

Mr Tjaden, medicine and crop growing are not exactly cognate disciplines. What made you get into the agricultural sector?
I grew up in Pilsum, a small place near Emden, in a typically rural environment. My uncle had a farm with crop cultivation and dairy cattle husbandry, on which I used to help out in the holidays and often even after school. So I have always had a connection to agriculture. After my alternative civilian service, I completed a six-month agricultural work placement. It was after that that I made my decision to study agricultural sciences and enrolled with Göttingen Uni.

Why did you choose Göttingen University and how have you found your studies so far?
I began my bachelor's degree at the Georg-August University in the autumn of 2006, firstly, because the University has a good reputation and, secondly, because I really liked Göttingen as a university town.

The foundation course mainly gave me an overview, but I was particularly interested in crop growing from the outset. In order to gather further practical knowledge, I completed various work placements – including one on an arable crop farm in Thuringia. I also worked again and again on this farm later in the semester holidays. The subsequent master's course had a very scientific orientation, focusing on phytomedicine.

You have just told us that you have completed a wide variety of work placements. Are these absolutely essential?
The work placements really helped me. Although I had experience of agriculture, the work placements enabled me to acquire many impressions and to get to know agriculture in a very different light. Particularly the business processes, including the individual measures and aspects, that we learned during our studies have become clearer to me. Even today, this practical experience is still very helpful with regard to my daily work for AGRAVIS.

You have just mentioned that you are now working at AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG. What is your daily work there like?
I noticed the advertisement for my current post at the end of my studies and was immediately taken. You see, my job involves desk work, fieldwork and customer contact. In concrete terms, this means that I advise people in all matters to do with crop growing. This includes cooperatives, to which I provide on-site advice, farmers who telephone the advice number at AGRAVIS or to whom we provide up-to-date crop production recommendations via fax, e-mail or app.

In the winter, I also give lectures on the subject of crop growing, gather information and compile cultivation strategies and priority programmes.

And when are you in the field?
In our Plants division – this is what our business segment is called within the Group –, we have 15 test locations in the whole of the AGRAVIS operational area on which we carry out and analyze our own precision trials. I monitor these precision trials from the beginning to the end and regularly drive out to inspect the stocks. I also regularly accompany field inspections for farmers.

What are the distinguishing features about your job?
The diversity and the consultancy. I really appreciate being able to work in so many different places and to have a broad range of tasks. I also enjoy advising people. It is always exciting to gain new insights as a result of our trials and to pass them on to our customers. A big advantage is that I am constantly able to monitor the different projects, which has enabled me to acquire broad specialist knowledge. Furthermore, each member of our team has what we call a "cultural responsibility". For example, together with a colleague I am primarily responsible for the topic of cereal fungicides. We exchange information about the priority topics in the team, which enables us to learn with and from one another. This is something I really appreciate about my job.

What are your goals at AGRAVIS?
I would like to extend my specialist knowledge further and find it fascinating to grapple with new issues and projects again and again. Last year, for example, we marketed the crop growing app "IQ Plant". Specialist supervision has recently become part of my area of responsibility.