A philosophy of life: questions and answers with Paul Nselel

Paul Nselel, CEO of AgReliant Genetics, talks about his history with farming and how farming is more than a job.

Seed World (SW): What is your favorite kind of book?

Paul Nselel (PN): I am an avid reader. For me, an additional perspective is gained by reading books. Throughout my career, I’ve learned that there are a lot of people in the world who do things right, but they do it in a different way. Although their processes are unique, their results are similar. Reading echoes this idea and continually opens my mind to thoughts, opinions and ideas distinct from mine.

For this reason, I mainly read autobiographies, memoirs, and self-help books. To be honest, I listen to most books on Audible to take advantage of my current travel schedule. More recently I read “TheCulture Map”, “Range” and “How to Avoid Climate Disasters”. Throughout a calendar year, I challenge myself to read between 20 and 25 books.

SW: What has been your favorite place to live?

PN: Now that’s a tough question. I love so many places in the world. I have been fortunate enough to live and travel to many great places including countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America. Cameroon is where I had my formative years, France is where I met my wife, Manuella, and the United States is where we settled and had our children. If I had to choose the place where you feel most at home, it would be Saint-Louis. This is the city where my two children, Sarah and Julian, grew up. This is where my wife and I first established our roots and became American citizens. This is where we made friends who feel more like family. To me, people and communities make a place feel like home and St. Louis will always be home to my family.

SW: How many languages ​​do you speak?

PN: I am fluent in a few languages ​​including English, French and Spanish as well as two local languages ​​in Cameroon – Bassa and Bakoko. I also know a bit of written Russian and German, but I don’t speak them.

SW: Tell us about your background! What attracted you to agriculture?

PN: Agriculture has always been part of my life since I was young.

Growing up, my father was a senior manager in a large agricultural company that exported bananas and pineapples to Europe. It allowed me to follow him often in the field to meet agronomists and learn the tricks of the trade.

Later in my life, while studying in France, I met a man from Nebraska who introduced me to American agriculture through first-hand experience with farmers. It helped me make the decision to join the industry and I’m glad I did because that’s when my true passion for farming and the people who work in it agriculture started.

Agriculture is more than a job, it is a philosophy of life. If you want a genuine, deep, and lasting relationship, partner with a farmer. Our industry is so special because it’s not just a job, it’s a way of life. This idea of ​​loving work and living the work attracted me to this industry and this is where I feel like I belong.

SW: What was it like entering AgReliant Genetics during a pandemic?

PN: The past year has challenged families, relationships, and businesses across the country and around the world – my experience has been no different. As an extrovert and business leader, it has been difficult to interact virtually with colleagues and our clients rather than in person. An important lesson I learned from the pandemic is the importance of human interaction and relationships. I look forward to the safe time to step out into the field and meet in person with our employees and customers. These are experiences that are not only necessary to live our mission to help farmers grow, but also time that I greatly appreciate.

While the pandemic created several challenges, it also gave me the space and time to better familiarize myself with the history and heritage of the organization and gave me the opportunity to better understand our business operations. , our people, and our farmer and dealer. customers.

I look forward to the future when I can resume a more personal engagement with people inside and outside our organization.

SW: What did you learn that was new this year?

PN: I’ve known for some time that America is a land full of opportunity and hardworking, innovative people who always find a way. This past year, we have lived the true story of human resilience. We have been employees, teachers, full time parents, caregivers and the list goes on. We did it with this courage and perseverance.

In the midst of it all, at least as far as the AGR goes, my team has been strong. We have been resourceful and flexible and found a way to do a lot of meaningful work in a unique way. We were able to take a step back and recognize what is important and meaningful to farmers.

As a country, we have been through difficult times of tension and mistrust, but I see from the hard work and commitment of my fellow Americans that our country is fundamentally good.

This year I have had the chance to slow down and reflect on the deep and deep love and respect I have for the United States and remind myself that as flawed as this country may be, it still is. rich in opportunities. The future looks to an even better future.

SW: What are your main priorities for 2021-2022?

PN: At AgReliant Genetics, we are uniquely positioned to help our farmers and our dealer customers grow their operations and profitability by providing them with a unique and broad seed choice that maximizes the return on investment on every acre.

In keeping with our mission, my two main priorities over the next year are first to bring our people together in a safe way and energize them around our common mission to help farmers grow; and second, to meet in our farmers’ fields and partner dealer operations across the country to build relationships and understand the needs of our customers.

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