From episode: EP40 - Growing A Better World with Harrell's Fertilizer
Today we have a very, very special company and guest that is coming on the show today. It is Harrell's. For those of you that don't know, Harrell's is a fertilizer and chemical company that do so much more than just that. They have some of the best values out of any company that I've ever heard, that make them stand out amongst their competition. Today we have Dr. Aaron Palmatier here, to speak about Harrell's, and he's going to give us some of his background on how he got to work with Harrell's, because you gotta be somebody to work at Harrell's in the position that he's in. I'm excited for today's episode, guys. There's going to be a lot of information here today, and we're going to have everything in the description down below, regardless of where you're listening to it. You'll get all the information that we spoke about today, but doctor, thank you for coming, man.
Willie, great to be here. Thank you for the invitation. And so I'll just start briefly with my background.
Talk to us, how'd you get into this world.
Originally from Illinois, I ended up getting... Kind of interesting. I started the whole thing in premedicine and I took as an elective on soil microbiology course in college, and that kind of opened the door for me and my interest in soil science. So I got a bachelor's and then a master's degree in plant and soil science. And I was very much involved in teaching at that stage, I was a teaching assistant for a plant breeding course and then also a crop science class.
Here in Florida?
No, this was actually in Illinois. So this was in Southern Illinois university. Okay. And then when I finished my masters, it was working on nematode populations and looking at plant genetic interactions with nematodes. And that brought me into the plant pathology world. And, and so I moved on and I got my PhD from Auburn university in Auburn, Alabama. And, it was from there that I saw an announcement to join a team of scientists in South Florida, looking at alternatives to methyl bromide. So fumigation for vegetable production. That's what actually brought me here. I saw this guy, this researcher, it was Dr. Randy Pletz. He's actually the tropical fruit pathologist was wearing this like Hawaiian shirt. I just thought it looked so cool that it was so, it was so....
And he's working! He's working in the tropical shirt!
So distant you know, from growing from Illinois and also from corporate where I just thought, man, that's so cool. And so one thing led to another, I came down and joined this team and was on the job there for just a little over a year when actually a faculty position opened at the tropical research and education center. The position was for a plant pathologist and the department of plant pathology is actually on the main campus in Gainesville. And the long story short, I joined faculty 13 years into it. I was presented an opportunity to go to work for Bayer. And so really what I did with the university of Florida as a plant pathologist. So I was in charge of the diagnostic clinic, which is kind of the interface to the local industry. And, so on a day -to -day basis, I would look at disease samples, insect pests, weeds, you name it. We saw this area is really the gateway to not only plant movement, I think it's roughly 85 % of plant material coming into the United States comes to the port of Miami.