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Women of Ag Leader: Supporting Ag Innovation & Adoption

by Mar 8, 2021Ag Leader, Featured

It is no surprise that the advancement of technology in agriculture has shifted how farms operate over the last 20 years. In response to these changes, women have continued to rise up and perform in the ag tech world. Their efforts support transformational advancements that empower growers to improve their operations with every season.

To celebrate the contribution women make to precision ag, we’re sharing the stories of individuals from several roles in the industry, from employees and dealers to precision ag users.  

We want to start by highlighting Ellen Longnecker, Ag Leader Technical Support Specialist, and Ag Leader Scrum Master Bonnie Bahnsen. Both women have a deep respect for agriculture. This passion drives them to achieve in their successful careers at Ag Leader. 

Ellen Longnecker – Technical Support Specialist 

While Ellen Longnecker wasn’t heavily involved in ag activities growing up, the down-to-earth culture of the industry clarified that she wanted to pursue a career in agriculture. After completing her bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Studies at Iowa State, she took a position in the Technical Support department at Ag Leader 


Q: Explain your role 

A: As a technical support specialist I have an extra focus on DirectCommand products and their systems. I answer dealer and grower calls on hardware and software problems and support them as thoroughly and quickly as possible. The department follows every case, and answers questions on calls or questions submitted online and on internal platforms. If the situation requires a deeper investigation, we can use a CAN simulator to connect a display to our computer to reenact what the operator is seeingand resolve the problem from there 

Q: What is your favorite part of your job 

A:  A lot of times when we have to wait for something to load or if we are stuck, conversations happen where we get to know the grower and their operations better. The goal of providing support is to help individuals improve their farm and make it as streamlined as possible. Overall, I really enjoy doing that. It would be hard if I didn’t get to work with other people; that’s something I will always want in my job.  


Q: What is your advice for a woman thinking of starting a career in your field?  

A: Go for it! The more knowledge you have increases your confidence and that is a ticket to anything you need. If being a woman in the industry scares you, find someone who can learn from and is willing to train you. There’s always someone willing to mentor you.  


Q: What is your greatest accomplishment as an employee?

A:  Overall, my biggest accomplishment is addressing and resolving customers issues day to day. I know that might sound cheesy but its the number one goal for our team, and successfully doing that will always be my greatest accomplishment. 


Q:  Where do you see the agriculture industry in 10, 20, 50 years 

A: When it comes to the history of ag for row crop farming, women have always been a huge part of it. Many women have just been moving from being the “lady in the office” to roles where they are gaining the opportunity to have a bigger part in the industry. 


Bonnie Bahnsen – Scrum Master 

Bonnie Bahnsen’s skills and affinity for learning have served her through multiple roles in software development firms over the last 25 years of her career. While her day job advances developments in precision ag, in her private life she manages the business side of her family’s row crop operation. Her efforts are fueled by the passion farmers have for their job even through hard times 


Q:  Explain your role?  

A: I am currently employed at Ag Leader as a Scrum Master for product development teams. Since I’ve joined the company, my teams have helped develop CartACESteerCommand Z2SteadySteer and SureSpeed products. In my role as Scrum Master, I’m responsible for ensuring the team follows certain values, principles, and practices that the team has agreed they would use. The responsibilities of my role include being a servant leader to the team, clearing obstacles and protecting the team from outside interruptions and distractions. I also highly encourage collaboration between the Scrum team and the product owner. I manage the team environment, thus ensuring that developers have everything they need to get the job done. I also coach the organization and teams to resolve the impediments themselves. 

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?  

A: Sharing in the team’s successes and being able to celebrate our great times together, as well as experiencing team failures are really what makes this role exciting! I really feel it is just as important to fail in order to learn and grow. I am part of a team that understands this ihighly important, and creates an environment that is safe to share, learn and grow. It is the icing on the cake being able to witness team members collaborate daily to find resolutions to their issues and watch their confidence grow.  


Q: What motivates you to continue to work in the ag industry?  

A: Witnessing the success of engineers working in the agricultural field. am part of a team where we collaborate to deliver innovative products that improve our customer’s success and way of life. We enjoy our work together! We all seek satisfaction and engagement in our work. Our process, procedures, and tools exist to help and support us. We leave room for fun and creativity.  


Q: What is your advice for a woman thinking of starting a career in your field?  

A: My parents instilled in me the importance of hard work and being excited about what you do, whether it is agriculture-related or not. I attribute my successes to those who have raised me.  Pass quality knowledge on to others, including women, in the next generation. Listen to others and act based on knowledge and facts. Listen, be informed, and follow-through 


Q: What is your greatest accomplishment as an employee?  

A: I am most proud of understanding better the importance of my role here at Ag Leader. The most important growth area I have shown is adopting a mindset that is less focused on rules and process and more on critical thinking about the situation at hand, and how I can observe and then bring to the table to help the team overcome their most difficult obstacles 


These are just some of the stories of the hardworking and driven individuals that keep the wheels of ag technology adoption and innovation turning.  

Check back in for more stories of women in precision agriculture coming this month! 



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