FARMS IN THE 1970s and 80s were diverse, before “diversity” was cool. A typical farm may have had some corn, vegetables for a roadside market, a few hogs, a flock of chickens and herd of cows, or some combination. And household income was supplemented by off-farm work. The rural Ohio farm Jerry Flint grew up on was no different, except his father chose to focus on high-value crops: gladiolas, strawberries and fruit trees. “My father thought that working with high value crops was the way forward — that it would some day allow him to farm fulltime,” Flint recalls, adding that he was a big part of the weed control program in the gladiola fields. However, the 80s were tough on farm families with inter- est rates upwards of 21 percent, a production surplus, declining exports and farm debt reaching $215 billion by 1984, double that of 1978. During this time more than 30 percent of U.S. farmers, including Flint’s dad, exited the business in one way or another. While Flint, who went to get his undergraduate degree in agronomy from Purdue, couldn’t return to the farm, it set the trajec- tory for his career with farming at the heart of it. Today, Flint serves as the leader for Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont’s Global Initiatives and Sustainability. In addition, the broader seed industry elected him chair of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), 2018-19. One thing Flint knows from his early days on the farm that still rings true is that every farm is different, and every farmer has a different vision for their farm. The one commonality all farmers share, he says — regardless of where they live — is that they are looking for that next technology or innovation that’s going to help them achieve their goals. “That’s what drives me in my career,” he says. “I wake up every day knowing that what I’m doing is truly helping farmers, and that’s very rewarding. It may not always be easy, but it’s what motivates me every day.” He didn’t realize it at the time, but the rural Ohio farm Jerry Flint grew up on provided experience and perspective that still serves him today. Julie Deering Diversity Paves the Way for Progress 12 / SEEDWORLD.COM DECEMBER 2018