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Competitors and collaborators.

Ask Robert Ratliff, chief executive officer of ProfitableFarming.com and NAMA national membership chair what drives his association involvement and he'll tell you. "My involvement with NAMA, and other industry interactions, is primarily driven by my view that my peers are both my competitors and my collaborators," says Ratliff.

As a young child his father took him to university field days in the summer and seed corn meetings in the winter. "I was fascinated to begin to understand how plant breeders developed new hybrids, with traits such as insect or disease resistance," he says.

Right out of college Ratliff joined American Cyanamid Company, and for 13 years held several jobs as farm chemicals enjoyed a rapid adoption curve.

"However by 1989, plant biotechnology and generic engineering were the emerging technologies that would eventually displace many aspects of both traditional plant breeding and farm chemicals, so the leading-edge pathway took me to BioTechnica Agriculture and Agrigentics to assist in directing the product development effort and devise marketing strategies for products that had never been invented before," he says.

In 1999, Ratliff founded ProfitableFarming.com Corporation and began to assist farmers in using the Internet to make better informed decisions on which crops are most profitable to grow, and which products and services are the most cost-effective.

Ratliff sees major drivers for change as genetic engineering, software engineering and social engineering. "The innovators will lead the way, the early adopters will quickly follow, the middle majority will attempt to close the gap, and the laggards will eventually awake and ask, 'what happened?'" Ratliff states.

Ratliff has been a NAMA member 21 years with four chapters and says that NAMA provides an opportunity to collaborate with one another for mutual benefit, by rising above the competitive fray, and seeking to take the industry to new levels of productivity and effectiveness.

Ratliff got his start in the organization when his boss insisted his staff network with some of the best minds in the industry.

"I encourage our passive members to become more active in the interactions with other members. I encourage our active members to volunteer for a leadership position. And I encourage all of us to learn from one another and take our profession to new levels of accomplishment," he says.

Robert Ratliff has been married for 25 years and has three children. He currently resides in Cary, North Carolina.
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Title Annotation:NAMA Leader; National Agri-Marketing Association's Robert Ratliff, ProfitableFarming.com
Comment:Competitors and collaborators.(NAMA Leader)(National Agri-Marketing Association's Robert Ratliff, ProfitableFarming.com)
Publication:Agri Marketing
Article Type:Biography
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2005
Words:397
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