Leading the way in seed

To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, Agrovista is delighted to celebrate the success of some of its female leaders #IWD2020

MAKING listening to others a priority is key to being successful in business, believes Seed Plant Manager, Claire Vergette.

Having worked in the seed trade for most of her career, Claire currently oversees production at Agrovista’s Riby depot in Lincolnshire – a role in which she thrives thanks to her problem-solving nature.

Claire, who studied Agriculture at Bishop Burton College, said: “I’m naturally a problem solver, so managing the planning and distribution of seed suits me, as each season is completely different to the next, so you need to be adaptable.

“I don’t want to be single-minded, therefore make listening a priority to ensure I have as much information as possible, in order to make the correct decisions for the business.”

Claire started out in the industry aged 17 working for John Vergette Ltd – the family business. Her role evolved organically over the years, before taking on her current position of Seed Plant Manager for Agrovista, when the two companies came together last year.

She added: “Of course it was the end of an era when we joined Agrovista, but changes needed to happen to futureproof our business and ensure that we could continue to produce seed.

“I absolutely love my job. It’s been the perfect opportunity to continue my role but for a larger company with more opportunities and ultimately, be responsible for running the plant. I’m proud to have my achievements recognised, but it’s a team effort and we’re in it together.

“For the future, the goal has always been to give my job my full attention, because I want to be the best at it that I possibly can. In doing so, I hope to enable us to grow our seed business with the aim of increasing capacity.”

Despite being a small industry, Claire has no intention of leaving seed production. Although unusual to be a female in her role, she believes that if you know your job, gender doesn’t come into it.

And it’s this knowledge of the trade and professionalism that makes Claire popular with customers and colleagues.

“Remembering our company values, such as operating with honesty and integrity, is what customers really appreciate. It can be very difficult as seed isn’t instantaneous, so the production process and therefore planning can be challenging,” she said.

“And it won’t get easier because we’re losing chemical control options, so the likelihood of people saving their own seed is increasing. This means that diversifying into different crops and products will be key to sustaining business, whether that’s cover crop seeds, exclusive varieties, or biostimulant seed treatments and dressings.

“The seed industry might be small, but we are great at being adaptable.”

When she’s not working for Agrovista, Claire helps with the family farm and caravan site, assisted by her nine-year-old, who has already shown a natural flair for business.

To learn more about Agrovista seeds and the Riby plant, visit www.agrovista.co.uk/seeds

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.