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Ryan Meister Named Director of Technology

Ryan Meister

Ryan Meister

As technology drastically changes the agricultural landscape, Servi-Tech is reinvesting in its commitment to high-tech applications in agriculture.

It is with pleasure that Servi-Tech announces that Ryan Meister will be changing his role within Servi-Tech to Director of Technology Development. In this new role, Meister will be responsible for assisting Servi-Tech’s crop service division in technology training, creating consistent technology services throughout the company, working with our software vendors to increase usefulness, helping grow technology based revenue for crop service, and looking for and creating new technology service offerings.

“Ryan will bring consistency and expertise to this role, designed to enhance the overall level of the adoption of technology within Servi-Tech’s agronomy staff,” said Pete Kruse, Servi-Tech Director of Operations. “We are proud to have Ryan on our staff, and look forward to the changes ahead.”​

Meister has been the eastern Nebraska territory manager for the past two years, and has been with the company for 11 years.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to bring new technology to our customers,” Meister said. “The rate at which new tools are being made available will provide new opportunities in ag, and I hope to utilize these new tools along with our agronomy expertise for the benefit of our customers.”

This move will make room for a new territory manager in eastern Nebraska. Servi-Tech is currently accepting applications to fill this position.

Servi-Tech Names New CEO

Greg Ruehle

Greg Ruehle

Servi-Tech is pleased to begin a new era of making the planet more productive with their announcement of Greg Ruehle as the new president and CEO.

Ruehle will begin his position in January after the retirement of Mitch Counce, who has served as president and CEO since 1992.

“I am thrilled to be joining Servi-Tech – a company that I believe is uniquely positioned to provide leadership to agriculture now and into the future,” he said. “As an expert in agronomy, lab analyses and precision agriculture, Servi-Tech fills a growing need for unbiased data and advice.”

Ruehle was raised on a diversified, family-owned grain and livestock farm in northwestern Iowa and still provides management oversight today on behalf of the family. He is a graduate of Texas Christian University’s Ranch Management Program and has a degree in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University.

He has more than 20 years of executive leadership experience including: Director of Private Lands, Water and Environment for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Washington DC; Executive Vice President of the Nebraska Cattlemen; and Executive Secretary of the American Shorthorn Association. He comes to Servi-Tech from the Independent Professional Seed Association where he has served as Chief Executive Officer since 2005.

“On behalf of the members and leadership of IPSA, I want to thank Greg for nearly a decade of service to IPSA,” said IPSA president Lou Buice.

Servi-Tech leadership welcomed Ruehle in a statement from the board of directors.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Greg’s caliber carry on the outstanding leadership that Mitch Counce has provided since 1992,” read the statement.

Ruehle will assume management duties at Servi-Tech mid-January.

Servi-Tech, the country’s largest agronomic firm, was organized in 1975 by three farmer-owned cooperatives to provide technical service for agricultural producers in southwest Kansas. Today, Servi-Tech provides consulting to approximately 2,000 farmers across seven states and over 1 million acres. Servi-Tech Laboratories has agricultural customers in all 50 states and over six countries.

Dr. Daniel Hillel and the future of agriculture

Last month I met Dr. Daniel Hillel at the Agronomy meetings in Tampa.  He is small in stature, but a giant in his contribution to agriculture.  For me, meeting him was like a basketball fan being able to hang out with Michael Jordan or a country-western fan getting to be backstage with George Strait.  Daniel received the 2012 Borlaug World Food Prize, the agricultural equivalent of the Nobel prize, except I think you actually have to have made a significant life-time achievement — not just have made a couple of speeches about climate change or world peace.  Daniel is credited as inventing the concept of drip irrigation.  He told me he is “83 going on 120”  and lives on the side of Mount Carmel in Israel.

Daniel Hillel and Fred Vocasek

His introduction as keynote speaker for the “Blue Waves, Green Dreams, and Shades of Gray – Perspectives on Water” symposium tells more: Dr. Daniel Hillel was born in 1930 in the semi-desert, man-made oasis of Southern California.  He was taken at a very young age to Palestine, then in the first stages of reclamation from centuries of environmental degradation. At the age of 8, he was placed in a pioneering settlement in the Jezreel Valley, where he was first exposed to, and captivated by, the open environment and its contrasting counterpoints of soggy winter and searing summer, open sky and bare earth. Given a spade and asked to direct the frothy waters from a ditch, he marveled at the exuberant growth of tender saplings that rose up defiantly in the midst of the dry plain. That early fascination eventually became an avocation and a vocation, a professional pursuit and a labor of love.

After World War II he was brought back to the United States, where he studied agriculture and worked briefly for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 1951, having earned a master’s degree in soil science and climatology from Rutgers University, he returned to newly established Israel to help in the young State’s development. Working for the Soil Conservation Service, he participated in the first survey of the country’s soil and water resources. He then joined a small group that ventured into the Negev Desert and established the first settlement in the rugged Highlands of that region, named Sdeh-Boker. The work was hard and dangerous, and three of the twelve original settlers lost their lives in the first year. Later, the pioneering settlement was visited by Israel’s founding Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, who was so impressed by the venture that he decided to resign from the Government and came to join in the venture.

While working on land reclamation, Daniel Hillel also conducted research on the water relations of desert plant habitats and the properties of their soils. That work was granted a doctorate by the Hebrew University. Dr. Hillel then continued his research in soil physics and hydrology in the U.S., first at the University of California and at the U.S. Salinity Laboratory, and later at the University of Massachusetts. Over the ensuing decades, he has taught and directed the research of scores of students, published or co-published over two hundred research papers and reports, and some twenty definitive textbooks on various aspects of soil physics, hydrology, agronomy, and the environment.

He has also served as advisor to international institutions, including the F.A.O. and the World Bank, taken part in advisory missions to some thirty developing countries, and cooperated with the Goddard Institute of NASA in extensive studies of portending climate change and its potential impacts on global and regional agriculture and on natural ecosystems.

In June, 2012, it was announced that Dr. Hillel would be awarded the 2012 World Food Prize at the annual Borlaug Dialogue international symposium in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 18, 2012. The announcement ceremony, held at the U.S. State Department, was presided over by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said:

“Dr. Hillel’s work will become even more important as we grapple with how to feed the world’s growing population…And according to the latest FAO estimates, the world will need to produce 60 percent more food than we do today to feed everyone. In that same time, the demand for water to grow food will rise by almost 20 percent. But our water supply is finite. So if we’re going to strengthen food security, we have to get more out of each drop.”