Catching up with… Damien Odgers
Works at: Bayer CropScience
Position: Business Development Manager – Horticulture
Damien, thank you very much for your time!
Firstly, can you please tell us about your role at Bayer and what it involves?
My role at Bayer is a multi-faceted position that sits within the sales department of the Bayer CropScience business. It’s a position focused on growing and supporting Bayer’s horticultural business in Southern Australia. Several key elements to the role include:
• Establishing and managing the relationships of a range of key customers (growers, consultants, advisors and reseller agronomists) across fruits and vegetables, tree crops and vine segments in Southern Australia.
• Developing new business revenue and add value to the business by directly influencing end-user purchasing behaviour in favour of Bayer CropScience brands, as well influencing advisors to recommend Bayer while driving the rapid adoption of new technology.
• Increasing Bayer’s knowledge and understanding of market gaps/opportunities in crop protection for horticultural crops in Southern Australia.
• Providing technical and sales support on the Bayer horticultural product portfolio for the marketing and sales department, particularly sales representatives responsible for Southern Australian growing regions.
How did you first become involved in horticulture – what led you to the position you’re in today?
I was born and raised on a dairy and vegetable farm in north-west Tasmania, so horticulture was always in my blood. Similarly, I’ve had a long-held respect and admiration for Bayer; its reputation for innovation, strong R&D footprint and introducing high quality products. When the opportunity arose over 12 years ago to join Bayer, I didn’t hesitate to accept.
I have been fortunate to have occupied a range of positions in Bayer in that time, including sales, product development, business development and supply chain management, within Bayer’s Crop Protection business and former vegetable seeds unit (Nunhems).
The experience of these roles has led me to develop a strong set of skills that are well-suited to business development and driving long-term sustainable business growth for Bayer and its customers.
What do you enjoy most about your job and working in the horticulture industry?
The opportunity to interact and develop close relationships with key opinion leaders and innovators across the Australian horticultural sector.
Coming from a farming family, I thoroughly enjoy working with leading fruit and vegetable growers who are feeding our growing population with healthy and nutritious food. In addition, many of these growers are leading entrepreneurs and businesspeople in their own right, facing a range of production and sustainability issues such as soil health productivity, labour management, climate change and rising production costs.
By collaborating with these leading growers and stakeholders, I’d like to think that I am playing a small part in confronting these issues and shaping the future of horticulture in Australia.
What does a typical day look like for you?
It can vary greatly depending on the season, product, project or cropping segment that is in focus at the time. That said, most of my time is spent either traveling across regional Southern Australia; interacting directly with horticultural growers and stakeholders, or time dedicated supporting our sales and marketing departments on a diverse range of topics.
Where do you get your horticulture knowledge from?
I have to say that when I graduated university, I thought I had some knowledge in horticulture that would hold me in good stead for my future career in the industry.
However, if I’m honest and look back over my career so far, I’d say that nearly all my current knowledge base comes from experience and time spent in a range of roles across many factions of horticulture. These roles have been wide-reaching in their nature; from production-based roles to consumer orientated positions at the retail end of the supply chain (farm to fork). They have also involved extensive domestic and international travel over many years, and this has exposed me to so many opportunities to learn and grow as a horticultural professional.
What sort of grower interaction do you have as a result of your role?
As I previously mentioned, my role is very interactive with large and innovative growers who are shaping the future of our industry.
The true value from my business development role comes from tailoring solutions to the needs of each individual business. Each grower has his/her own vision and unique set of challenges, so my role needs to be adaptable to maximise my effectiveness and value to both the grower and Bayer CropScience.
Finally, where can we keep up to date with Bayer’s activities and how can our growers get in touch?
I strongly recommend visiting our Australian website to stay informed on recent business activities.
If any growers would like to get in touch with me directly, they can contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each week, the Weekly Update will be featuring a member of the vegetable industry. Whether you are a grower, a researcher or work in the supply chain, this is a chance to showcase the different roles and areas within horticulture. If you – or someone you know – would like to be involved, please email Michelle De’Lisle at email@example.com.