Emily Horton: Wyoming native excels in career with John Deere
From blue and gold FFA jackets to brown and gold University of Wyoming jerseys, Wyoming-native Emily Horton has strong allegiances. Now her loyalty is paying off as she proudly represents the green and yellow tractors that keep much of the agriculture world running.
Horton grew up near Riverton raising row crops and cattle and as a State and National FFA Officer she distinguished herself as the girl who loved the green steel of John Deere. It was her passion for the agricultural machinery maker that eventually led her to the career of her dreams.
“I love my job. Being a part of the process to bring solutions to producers and help them be successful is something I am very passionate about,” she says.
As a University of Wyoming student majoring in agriculture business, Horton landed an internship with John Deere in 2006. Horton made a lasting impression and after graduation she had a job waiting for her. She went into a marketing representative program and her first venture was with John Deere Harvester Works in Moline, Ill. There she helped introduce the new 70-series combines to more than 5,000 dealers across the country.
There is no rest for the ambitious and Horton’s second project was coordinating a customer fly-in program where she was responsible for everything except packing the customer’s bags. During the project Horton also took on the task of opening a retail store at the factory’s visitor center. She was involved at all levels of the project from choosing room fixtures, to selecting merchandise to hiring a manager.
And that was just the first six months on the job.
Horton’s career path then took her from Illinois to Des Moines, Iowa where she now works at John Deere Intelligent Vehicle Systems (IVS). Her role at IVS is in product development.
“My job is to ensure the voice of the customers is heard, as we engineer future precision ag products.” Horton says.
Iowa doesn’t have Horton for long as she faces yet another move – this time to Idaho. Horton says there’s never a dull moment and as June edges near so does her new job as a crop systems specialist. This position involves helping dealers in their business related to sprayers, tillage, seeding equipment and precision farming products in Montana, Utah, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Horton says she is happy to be moving closer to home and closer to Cowboy football games.
This new position will have Horton logging long miles but traveling is something she is accustomed to. As the 2004-2005 National FFA Secretary, Horton traveled all across the country and even to Japan.
“The traveling part doesn’t bother me,” she says. “My goal is to help ensure that we are providing solutions for customers that enable them to be more productive and profitable in their operations.”
Her experiences, she says, have also given her a strong foundation for success in her career.
“My experiences in FFA, on the Wyoming Board of Agriculture Youth Advisory Committee and being involved in Wyoming agriculture on the family farm have helped me immensely,” Horton says. “I experienced different types of agriculture and how producers run their operations. Without these experiences I would not be able to relate to customers and understand their needs.”
The customers she serves have also taught her a lot about the agriculture industry nationwide. Horton has learned that customers’ perceptions change based on geography and situation. She says she sees and experiences different approaches to farming and ranching, different labor systems and different perceptions related to challenges.
“I knew about Wyoming grown row crops and irrigation and I knew about ranches with cattle and hay,” she says. “Through this career I have expanded my customer knowledge and am a part of the process to provide customers solutions that help them become more profitable and more productive.”
Although there are many regional differences, Horton also finds universal trends among the nation’s agriculturists.
“Whether it’s Wyoming, Iowa or Arkansas, farmers and ranchers are committed to production agriculture as a career and lifestyle,” Horton says. “They want to be a part of putting quality food on tables around the world while pursing a way of life they truly enjoy.”
Horton’s work with John Deere is rewarding, but the dream job isn’t without challenges and sacrifices.
“I really miss Wyoming, the people and the mountains,” she says. “I miss having 500,000 close friends.”
Being away from her home state is especially tough for Horton who is a Wyoming girl through and through. In Wyoming she could be found screaming at a Cowboy Football game, tackling tough issues as a WDA Youth Advisory Committee member and sharing her passion for agriculture on a daily basis.
“I have been a lot of places and seen a lot of things and there is no place in the world like Wyoming,” Horton says. “Nowhere else can you look at the Owl Creek mountains while operating a windrower or sit at 7,200 feet on Saturdays in the fall.”
Horton says she is able to make other places feel like home because she can find ways of appreciating them. But no matter what, Horton will always have the brown and gold running through her veins.
“Regardless of my love for the job and the opportunities, I keep Wyoming in my heart everyday,” Horton says. “No matter where I’m at, I’m keeping true to my Wyoming principles and am representing who we are.”
Liz Lesatz is summer 2008 intern for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at email@example.com