In honor of National Agriculture Month, KAS is highlighting some of our employees who exemplify a passion for the agriculture industry.
When you hear the term agriculture, more often than not your mind initially goes to some sort of crop production. However, as we all know, the agriculture industry consists of various types of operations—including cattle. For Greg Hunter, vice president of North America sales, cattle are not only part of his livelihood, but a family tradition as well.
“I was born into the ag industry. My grandfather on my mother’s side milked cows, grew his own feed— silage corn, alfalfa and some barley and oats as well. He also had a herd of beef cows and on my dad’s side, he had a farrow to finish hog operation.”
Hunter said his passion for cattle and agriculture began at a young age and is rooted in the simplicity of nature and cycle of life.
“I loved being in the country and I love taking care of the land and cattle. It’s just a unique way of life and reminds me of the beauty of nature and new creation every year.”
As a fourth-generation farmer, Hunter said it has been neat to see how each generation has been shaped by the agriculture industry and the family tradition that continues to this day with the same livestock brand his great-grandfather used on his operation.
“The hot brand is still the secure way of demonstrating livestock ownership. The brand I have was my great-grandfathers that was later passed on to my grandfather, then one of my uncles and then me, and then someday to my son and two daughters who are pretty active in our operation. All, or one of them will also end up with the brand someday. It’s pretty neat to watch it be handed down through generations.”
After graduating high school, Hunter left the family operation to attend Colorado State University and while he has a degree in business management, he says his way of getting there was a bit unconventional.
“I did not finish at Colorado State. While in school I was working in the feed mill and they offered me a full-time supervisor job and, at the time, I thought, ‘Wow, this is great. Why would I need to do more than this?’ and so that’s what I did for three years.”
Eventually, Hunter decided to go back to school and later earned his bachelor’s in business management from the University of Phoenix after he took a job with Rio Tinto Minerals on their product development team. He had worked there for about 19 years when a prior customer called to tell Hunter about an open position at Koch Agronomic Services (KAS).
“He called me and let me know about the sales director role he was recruiting for and wanted me to come in and interview for it. I never thought I would leave my role at the time, but here I am almost nine years later.”
Hunter joined KAS in 2013 and attributes the transition to Koch’s principles and MBM philosophy.
Outside of the office, Hunter dedicates his time to his passion in upholding the family tradition of being in agriculture with his family in the cow/calf operation in Kiowa, Colorado.
“We have a small herd of registered Angus cows. We have bulls, replacement heifers, steers and of course, calves. I have what I call cattle disease. I just can’t quite get rid of it. For me, it's therapeutic.”
Hunter said his passion for cattle was primarily founded in the joy they gave him through how they interacted and the process of caring for them.
“I just love the simplicity of taking care of cows and observing their herding behavior and protection of one another as a whole. I enjoy having a better understanding of what their behaviors and triggers are and utilizing that knowledge for efficient operations. For example, I don't have to herd my cows because they’ve been trained over the years. Sometimes I’ll have to herd calves but they eventually do what I want them to most of the time.”
Outside of cattle, Hunter said the agriculture industry taught him various life lessons and the value of work.
“Growing up in ag taught me what fulfilling hard work is and how to be the steward of the land and resources God has given to us to use, whether that be people, money, equipment or whatever it may be. Just using what we've been blessed with to be a good steward.”
When asked about his vision for the future of agriculture, Hunter said it is an exciting time to be a part of agriculture because of the constant challenge and opportunity to grow and learn.
“The beautiful thing about agriculture is that it's one industry we will never not need. People are always going to need to eat so I think as long as we keep providing opportunities and opening doors for people and companies to innovate, we’re going to become more and more efficient at food production.”
Hunter has been proud to continue the family tradition and be a part of the innovation even though his father has sold most of the hogs and the original farm he spent his childhood on is no longer in operation. The headquarters, however, are still intact and owned by the city of Fort Collins, CO and named after his grandfather—Nix Farm Natural Areas Facility. Hunter, however, doesn’t see himself leaving the industry anytime soon.
“There's nothing else I'd rather do—I'm right where I want to be. This has been a part of my entire life and I love the industry. It's an honorable profession with great people, all united with a common goal.”