Meristem Partners with Agronomist/Researcher Brewer Blessit to Boost R&D
07 April 2023, United States: Meristem Crop Performance has engaged Certified Crop Consultant Brewer Blessit, CPAg, Ph.D., founder of Blythe Bayou Research and Consulting, to support innovative product research and development. He will also continue his agronomic consulting efforts across 40,000 acres in the southeastern United States.
“Dr. Blessitt will play a key role helping us widen the pathway for new, innovative technology that helps farmers increase nutrient-use efficiency, grow big, healthy plants fast, optimize genetic potential all season long, and gain more bushels for less,” said Mitch Eviston, Meristem Founder and CEO in making the announcement. “We are very excited to add Brewer to our outstanding team of agricultural professionals.”
“My primary objective has always been to improve agriculture productivity,” said Blessitt of his new engagement with Meristem. “Pushing our industry toward efficiency, profitability, and sustainability is a win for all involved, and that’s really what drew me to Meristem Crop Performance. Their commitment to helping growers raise more bushels for less cost aligns perfectly with my personal mission.”
Blessitt grew up in near Sunflower, Mississippi, “where cotton was king until it wasn’t,” he says. “My grandfather was a farmer, but my parents were in health care.” He and his wife Robin and their son and daughter currently live near Hernando, Miss. Early on, he says he was aiming at a career in healthcare, with extensive studies in microbiology and biochemistry, but he remembers the day that pursuit changed.
“I was driving down a country road and saw a farmer filling his planter box in the field,” he remembers, “and that reminded me how much I had always enjoyed working outdoors and on-farm. By the time I got home, I had decided to change my path forward.”
Blessitt got his undergrad degree in biology from Delta State University, then buckled in for studies at Mississippi State University (MSU) for his master’s degree in agronomy and crop science. He also worked as an MSU research associate for the next eight years.
“My focus at that time was documenting the impact of improved drainage in soybean production,” he says. “There were multiple layers to that study: varieties, irrigation schedules, genetics. That really led to my doctoral studies in soybean breeding. That was my original desire; to be a plant breeder.”
Blessitt earned his doctorate in 2013 and signed on with DuPont Pioneer (now Corteva), first as a product agronomist and then as a technical product manager. He took on the role of closely examining how farmers used current offerings at the farm gate and figuring out what was they needed next. The company, in the throes of a merger with Dow and becoming Corteva, expected him to get back to the lab and breeding soybeans, but again his career path changed.
“I got out in the country, and began working with farmers, and I again discovered I really didn’t want to go back to the lab,” he says. “I really wanted to be out working with farmers on applying innovation in their fields faster.” Blessitt says his interest grew in biologicals, biostimulants, and foliar nutrition, when he came to realize how some growers were seeing big benefits from this sort of innovation and wanted to learn more. “There’s not a single class in the country that is going to teach you much about this (biostimulant/biological) space,” he says. “Most academic institutions and big ag companies have not pursued this space and therefore, haven’t supported it. However, advances in the past five years, fairly widespread farmer adoption, and push toward sustainability is changing some of that.”
Blessitt encourages farmers pursuing higher yields to keep their eyes and minds open. “It’s a mental state,” he says, “if you don’t believe that it works, you won’t be open to really understanding what’s happening with your soil and your plants. I was once there, too. But I’ve now seen a lot of farmers winning by changing up how they do things.” Blessitt says he’s looking forward to helping Meristem accelerate this sort of adoption.
“Meristem is out to see this new technology really work. They are oriented toward the convenience to farmers and assuring the health of microbes with their patented delivery systems,” explains Blessitt. “It’s really refreshing to see a company devoted to making sure this will work at field-level for farmers, and at a price point to the grower that will encourage their use and gain them a solid ROI.”
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