Embracing Lifelong Learning

Johnny Parker is the Global Coordinator for the Research Trial Specialist Team at HMClause, a division of Limagrain. Johnny’s journey into the seed industry started when the citrus business began to decline for his family’s farm. At that time, he made the decision to explore other opportunities. He landed a product development position representing HMClause in the South Florida market. After several years he was approached by Seedway, LLC to work on product development and management. In 2016, he returned to HMClause as one of the initial Research Trial Specialist team members. In 2019 he was promoted to his current position which has seen him develop and implement harmonization practices for the team.

With an Ag Education background, Johnny is dedicated to lifelong learning. He had always planned to pursue a master’s degree after completing his dual bachelor’s and minor from the University of Florida. However, life happened, and he put it on hold. When he felt the time was right to return to school. He was keen on finding a program that would provide a comprehensive view of the seed industry, rather than a narrow focus. It was then that he stumbled upon the Online Graduate Program in Seed Technology and Business (STB) at Iowa State University, and it instantly resonated with him.

“I was reading about the program, and after about thirty minutes I turned to my wife and said, “this is where I need to go.”’

What drew Johnny to the STB program was the diversity of knowledge and experiences it offered. He saw it as an opportunity to become a “jack of all trades and a master of none,” which aligned perfectly with his desire to interact with various professionals and learn from
them. For him, the program’s unique feature was its ability to expose participants to different facets of the industry and gain a holistic understanding of how the seed industry operates.

As Johnny immersed himself in the STB program, he found his perspectives broadening. The program provided insights into supply chain management that he had never known before, and he was able to apply this newfound knowledge to maximize efficiency within his own company. Johnny highlighted that the STB faculty do not simply hand answers to its participants; rather, they equip students with the tools they need to develop their critical thinking skills so they can innovate in their respective businesses and lives. “I’m sure between now and the time I retire, I’ll use a little bit of everything I’ve learned from STB.”

For Johnny, the seed industry is not just a job; it is an ever-evolving trade that provides endless opportunities for growth. He envisions a future where technology and innovation will play a crucial role in feeding the world’s growing population. His dedication to the seed industry is evident in his desire to keep learning, growing, and propelling the industry forward. The seed industry is undergoing a transformation with technological advancements and changing consumer demands driving innovation. Johnny emphasizes that it is no longer just about “cows, plows and sows” but is a dynamic and fast-paced landscape. With the growing global population, the agricultural industry faces the crucial task of feeding the world, and this requires a new generation of skilled and passionate seed professionals.

“It’s going to take a lot of us to keep this train on the tracks. We have a lot of mouths to feed in the next 10-15 years, so we need the next generation to get out there and get involved. I think STB is doing its part to prepare us all for those changes.”

Johnny Parker is a passionate seed industry leader, and STB has played a crucial role in shaping his journey. The program has equipped him with a wide range of skills, enabling him to think creatively and implement innovative ideas in his work. As he continues to make an impact in the seed industry, it is clear that Johnny is committed to continuing to learn, grow and push boundaries in the seed industry.

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