Emily Laudin is a sales agronomist at Rutherford Farms. She grew up on a grain and beef operation near Brunkild, MB, and returned to work in agriculture after spending a couple years traveling abroad. Emily shares the importance of building a strong network, and how innovation in digital agriculture – and a little friendly competition – keep her motivated on the farm. 

What was your dream job when you were a kid?

Professional athlete! I love being active and I’m very competitive by nature. I played everything growing up, and was a really hard core figure skater. I was very lucky to have parents spend the time and resources to support me. 

What first piqued your interest in agriculture and agri-food?

Growing up, working on the farm was our family time. I got to haul grain to the elevator with my dad, participate in the 4H beef program, and spent many hours hanging out in the cab during seeding, spraying and harvest. 

I traveled after high school, and when I returned to the farm the science behind it really intrigued me. My dad always said to me, “You’ll be a better farmer than I am, and I’m a better farmer than my father, because of technology and genetics.” It’s not that I work harder than my grandfather – he had to work harder than me. But the science we’ve gotten to now has made us more productive as producers and I love that. I want to be the best at what I do. 

What was your first job in the agriculture or agri-food sector?

As the youngest of four kids on an active beef farm, my first job was opening the gates for my dad. When I started grain farming after traveling abroad, I loved working with the big equipment and all the science that went into producing a crop. 

What brought you to your current role? 

I met Rick Rutherford and Corey Park when I was working at the local grain elevator. The big seller for me was the opportunity to work with them. When I was just farming at home with my dad I was very isolated. I had no idea what was going on in the industry, and no time to learn. 

Now, my network continues to guide my career in every aspect. I know I don’t know everything, but I have so many people that I can call on for help. I have a network that I can lean on and learn from, and that is everything. 

How does digital agriculture or agtech play a role in your current job?

There isn’t a day where we don’t use technology on the farm. Even in the off-season, we can pull up remote soil temperatures, moisture probes, and historical data from every field right off our cell phones. 

As Rutherford Farms is a larger farm, this documentation is critical to keep field operations moving forward. I can see when my sprayer operator is finishing a field, and prepare the next round of pesticide on the spray trailer to be ready for him. 

Currently, my favorite use of technology is the AutoPath we use on the grain cart and combine. The combine operator essentially “grabs” the grain cart and has full control while unloading on the go. It creates less room for error while working through our busiest season, which is important when you’re low on patience and sleep!

What advice would you give someone considering a career in digital agriculture? 

Never lose your willingness to learn and keep an open mind. Agriculture is moving faster than ever and there is always something new to learn, no matter what stage you are at in your career. Build up a network of good people that are willing to help you along the way. 

More about EMILI’s collaboration with Rutherford Farms

EMILI’s Innovation Farms is located on Rutherford Farms in Grosse Isle, Manitoba. Rutherford Farms is a key collaborator and partner of EMILI when it comes to advancing digital agriculture. With this partnership, we’re able to provide a space to innovators where they can test, validate, and demonstrate their agricultural technology on a full-scale commercial farm. This is an essential step to help bring new technologies from pre-commercial to market. EMILI also shares our findings across the agrifood ecosystem to increase understanding and access to digital agriculture tools across the agrifood ecosystem. 

Learn more about the work we’re doing at Innovation Farms

This profile is part of EMILI’s This is Agriculture series, highlighting talented and diverse individuals across the digital agriculture sector. While individuals working in agriculture come from a variety of backgrounds, they share a common interest in growing and strengthening Canadian agriculture to ensure an environmentally and economically sustainable future for generations to come.