Monticello, Ill. • Profiled: Summer ’95
For Harold Reetz, the company name may have changed, but the job remains the same. There’s just more of it.
After serving from 1974 to 1982 as Extension research specialist in corn production with the Purdue Department of Agronomy, Reetz joined the Potash & Phosphate Institute. The institute changed its name to the International Plant Nutrition Institute in 2007.
Reetz coordinates fund-raising for research programs related to crop and soil nutrient management, and he also coordinates educational activities on high-yield crop production systems and the application of new technology in crop production systems.
“I have developed a major part of my program around high-yield systems and precision farming,” Reetz says, “building on my interest in technology applications that began while I was at Purdue.”
At Purdue, Reetz was ahead of his time. He was the first agronomy student to develop a computer simulation model for his thesis. And he’s been at the forefront of technology ever since.
In 1995, Reetz helped organize the InfoAg Conference series, a forum for sharing ideas and experiences in the application of computer, sensor, satellite and communication technologies in crop production. The 10th InfoAg Conference will be held in July.
In 2004, Reetz took on additional responsibilities as the director of the Foundation for Agronomic Research, the fund-raising and educational support arm of the INPI.
“This has expanded my geographic territory to cover all of North America and other parts of the world. I am co-chairman of the new Global Maize Project, which involves a network of scientists in 14 locations around the world, building a network of research centers and scientists to assist farmers in narrowing the gap between current and potential corn yields as defined for each location.”
For Reetz, managing the foundation has provided the best of both worlds.
“It is a great combination of working in research and in education. I especially like the ability to work with university and industry scientists across the U.S. and in other countries as well as a variety of farmers and their advisers. It keeps me in touch with the cutting edge of agriculture."