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Apr 07, 2022

Employee Story: Chris Whitehead - Grain Marketer

When Chris Whitehead took a seasonal position with Crystal Valley eight years ago, he never guessed it would have turned into what he’s doing today. He was a young man, ready to find a career to help set him on the right path.

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Not having a lot of experience working with farmers, he knew he just needed to get his foot in the door and could be successful if he put his mind to it. Chris took the role head-on and proved that he was the man for the job to his then supervisor. Soon, he was working full-time in a grain operations role out of La Salle, MN. There he was shown the ropes by a longtime employee, Al Stokes, and he took that knowledge and training and applied it every day.

Chris learned more about the farming community and why farmers made their decisions as time went on. However, the real draw for him was the equipment, where his passion for agriculture began. The more time he spent with farmers, the more driven he became to do more. He set his sights on becoming a grain marketer and worked hard to make it happen.

When a grain marketer position opened, Chris applied but was turned down, being told he needed more time to learn what he could while on the job. Soon after, Chris was offered a Lead Grain Operations position in Madelia, which he took to build upon the skills he’d already developed.

“They gave a small kid, on a rough path, an opportunity,” said Chris. Jeff Spence, then Vice President of Grain, took a chance on him, telling him he could go places if he worked hard.

Finally, an opportunity to become a marketer presented itself, and Chris jumped at the chance. By staying informed about what is going on around the world, Chris can help farmers make informed decisions about selling their crops at the best time for the best price.

While his path to becoming a marketer was windy, having a few years to learn the ropes allowed him to build relationships and trust with farmers in his area, which he says makes all the difference when coming to work each day.

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