Jason Schwarz knows farming is a tough business. The Preston native is the owner of JMS Agronomics, a local company working to assist farms in reaching their greatest potential. Along with agronomy, Schwarz maintains a Pioneer sales rep agency, selling a full line of seed products.
“With Pioneer, where we’re at in the industry is seed treatment. It’s a fully customizable product you’re putting in the soil,” adds Schwarz. Along with the seed varieties, farms are able to benefit from a full offering of additional services to complement their yields, some of which can cut down on later applications.
Schwarz has a long history in the industry, stretching back to his own time growing up on a crop farm. Schwarz has a Bachelor’s Degree in Agronomy from University of Wisconsin River Falls, but he’s been farming his whole life. Prior to Jason taking over the Pioneer dealership, his father, Mike, operated it for 21 years. “He passed it on to me,” says Schwarz. “We still farm — corn, soybeans, and alfalfa. We had livestock until 2010.”
That farming background has proven crucial in business partnerships. “Being able to see what works on our farm helps,” he says. “We can better relate to the customers.”
“Our bread and butter is still Pioneer Seed,” notes Schwarz. “Everyone knows the seed business, but we want to highlight the services.”
While JMS Agronomics didn’t secure LLC status until 2009, the company was previously listed under Schwarz’s name and was formed in 1999. “Seeds — agronomy entails all the things that go with that,” he adds.
The company added crop protection in 2016 in effort to help keep fields as disease and pest-free as possible. When problems do arise and intervention is needed, JMS Agronomics makes recommendations for methods of weed control and stopping disease and insect populations from taking hold. By partnering together, farms are able to avoid generalized recommendations that may not be as successful. “There are a lot of good people; good farmers. Farmers try to do things the right way,” says Schwarz.
The company is geared towards taking farm operations to the next level of productivity. “There are so many different aspects,” says Schwarz. “The technology in the last ten years has really exploded.”
Zone management has allowed farms to be able to pull strong yields and quality crops from the soil. “We can get the treatments and seed placed just right. It’s more intensive management. It’s important to partner with the right person and have the best return.” Precision planting by Global Positioning System (GPS) adds to specialized planting options. Fertilizer, while not the company’s mainstay, rounds out the aspects of available offerings.
JMS Agronomics currently partners with roughly 80-100 area farms, mainly in the middle portion of Fillmore County, including Chatfield, Fountain, Lanesboro, Preston, and Harmony. Greenleafton and Mabel are two newer service areas for the company.
“We just added having Terry Torkelson work with us,” says Schwarz. “He’s been a huge asset; a great help. He brings 30-plus years of expertise.” Torkelson serves the company as a sales promoter.
Also employed by the company is Jason’s wife, Mary, who works part-time and started this past winter. She assists with delivery, crop scouting, and bookkeeping. Schwarz said she brings a strong background in customer service. “She really does a good job,” he added.
“We try to partner with the grower, not just to sell seed, but to be a partner in the operational things,” stresses Schwarz.
With harvest in full swing, Schwarz is seeing the results of those partnerships. “We’re seeing pretty decent yields this year,” he says. “Beans are average, but for corn, the initial results are very good.”
While seeing the greater yields and crop control is the goal, Schwarz knows it’s the partnerships that make the business. “It’s more the people you work with every day; the customers that have been working with us and our family.”
“Whether it’s us or someone else, it’s important to partner with an input provider. It’s getting to be that cooperatives and private companies are partnering with more and more farms in precision services. A lot of these places are getting to be full service,” notes Schwarz.
“It’s been a good fit. We really enjoy working with our customers,” adds Schwarz. “It makes the job enjoyable.”