Machinery & Products

US manager learns the ropes

By Dairy News

American-born Alyx Selsmeyer was working for Case IH at the brand’s headquarters in Wisconsin, in the United States, two-and-a-half years ago when a job opportunity on the other side of the world was too good to refuse.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate had always had Australia on her destination wish list, so when a product manager role with the brand’s Australia/New Zealand division came up, Ms Selsmeyer didn’t need any convincing the time was right to follow that dream.

She started as the product manager for sprayers and high horsepower, in January 2017, and after overcoming some of the initial hurdles, has embraced the role and the opportunities it provides to see Australia’s vast regions.

“Obviously the weather’s a lot more temperate here for the most part; people are farming all year round here whereas back home there are very small planting and harvesting windows because of our very cold winters,” Ms Selsmeyer said.

“Australian farmers are putting a lot more hours on equipment compared with back home where someone would buy something and trade it in regularly but only be putting a limited number of hours on it each year.

“In the mid-western US, the harvesting and planting windows are so short and you’re farming a lot less land because the yields are so high.

“Here, relatively, yields are lower per hectare and you’re farming a lot more land.”

Ms Selsmeyer has also come to appreciate how the likes of government subsidies and crop insurance schemes in the US change the landscape for farmers and appreciates how most Australian farmers are successful with so much less assistance.

“It makes them really efficient operators and better decision-makers because they simply have to be. There is no safety net,” she said.