Territory Sales Manager -Mississippi River Region
For customers in his southeast Iowa sales territory, Curt Schoonover tries to be “the answer man” – and not just for questions about feed. He likens his job to serving as a liaison between dealers and producers, to support their businesses and partner in their success.
“It might be helping with rations, calving issues, poor production in livestock, or just making sure our products are fitting their needs and wants – anything under the sun,” Schoonover says. “It all comes down to being a good business partner.”
Schoonover literally couldn’t wait to make a living in production agriculture. When he was 12 years old, he started working for a family friend on a diversified, farrow-to-finish, cow-calf operation and row crop farm in Wapello, Iowa. He kept working there through high school and continued that job while earning his associate’s degree in Ag Sales and Service at Southeastern Community College in West Burlington. Schoonover says his plan from there was to go on to pursue a four-year degree, but once he graduated, he knew he was ready “to get straight to work.”
“I graduated on a Friday and went to work that Monday at the same co-op in Wapello,” Schoonover says. “We sold Kent Feeds, and I became the feed mill manager, so it was my job to know their products well.”
Eventually Schoonover joined Kent Nutrition Group (KNG) as a territory sales manager right where he grew up. Eighteen years later, he says quality is still the backbone of the company. “I wouldn’t want to sell anything else.”
Schoonover says one thing that’s changed in the industry is the size of most operations – and competitiveness in the world market. More and more livestock are being put into buildings and producers are getting bigger than they used to be, making 50 cows seem like a small herd these days. In his area, 100- to 200 is more common, Schoonover says.
All of it has resulted in a growing emphasis on quality nutrition “for the wellbeing of their livestock and their pocket book.”
“Kent has really adapted and kept up with the times to make sure our producers stay profitable in the beef business,” he says. “It’s a competitive market and they have a lot of things to think about. But they trust that we have the best quality animal nutrition they can buy, period.”
Curt lives with his wife, Miranda, and their three teenagers in Wapello, Iowa. He enjoys fishing, spending time with family and hunting on the family farm with his brother and nephew.