Young Farmer Combines a Passion for Ag & Electronics
Bringing Expertise to the Family Farm.
Growing up on the farm just outside Earl Park, Indiana, Jordan Berry spent many hours riding in the combine with his Dad and Grandfather. Today, at the age of 29 and equipped with a B.S. degree from Purdue University, Berry helps design, test and implement some of the latest technology that is moving precision agriculture machinery forward.
From a very young age, Berry’s father cultivated his interest in technology, from early cellular phones and pagers to computers, laptops and a wide variety of electronics. The remaining hours of his spare time were spent around his Grandfather’s and Uncle’s Massey-Fergusson dealership, climbing on machinery, seeking to understand how each part played a role in the entire machine.
Years later, Berry’s professional career has taken him around the globe, combining his biggest passions – Agriculture, Electronics and Technology.
Jordan Berry drives the new Gleaner S9 Series Combine. For the last 3 years, Berry has been part of the team who helped design, test, and bring to market the latest in precision Ag machinery technology used in this new combine from AGCO/Gleaner. – Photo provided.
How did you end up at AGCO?
“Back in 2011, I was offered an internship to get some work experience, combining my knowledge of their machines with the testing of a guidance system that AGCO already had under development. Prior to that I worked for Peterson Ag Service in Remington, Indiana; focusing on sales and technical support for the AgLeader autosteer product lines. When the opportunity at AGCO presented itself, I knew I could put my Purdue education to work in a more hands-on environment, something I’d always wanted to do,” said Berry.
After a great summer internship experience, Berry was asked to come back for a second internship at AGCO in 2012 to be part of the new Technology Department – helping design new electronic steering controllers on nearly every wheeled vehicle that AGCO manufactures. This work lead Berry to a full time position as a Senior Design Engineer for Harvesters in both software and electrical components.
What effect did your internships have on your education?
“I was able to turn my entire summer internship project into my senior design project at Purdue to meet the graduation requirements. Since I had spent all summer on the designs, my Senior year was much less stressful, giving me more time to focus on other core classes to earn my degree.”
What’s it like working from the design phase of components to final production?
“There is a lot of testing, refinement and continual improvement,” said Berry. “You work in a team environment where your work gets checked and you check other people’s work. He went on to emphasize that, “You have to be able to adapt, learn and listen to feedback from others.”
“The S9 Gleaner combine was a result of being asked, ‘How do we make a very advanced combine that the farmer can easily maintain and repair in the field? This was the challenge and amazing result of our work.” – Jordan Berry
Being part of the ‘napkin-sketch’ of the designs and seeing the project all the way to a production model combine is something that Berry is very proud of and rightfully so. He helped design the components as an intern, then as a full time employee he helped integrate these parts, hardware and software into test machines in Germany and Italy. Eventually after years of testing and refinement in Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and a handful of other states, the new S9 Series from Gleaner was born. Berry proudly stated, “seeing all those years of work on the software and hardware come to life is a great feeling. More importantly, seeing farmers in the field using and enjoying the final product is unmatched.”
How will your professional experience benefit your work on the family farm?
“Understanding all of the components on our combines means we can reduce any potential downtime and get back in the field quicker than ever. Like any farm operation, no one wants downtime during harvest, and the S9 technology is a reflection of this – easier diagnostics and maintenance.”
- B.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology, Purdue University
- Benton Central High School Graduate
- 10 Year 4-H Member
For those that know Jordan Berry, they’ll understand what I mean when I speak of his sincere demeanor. Mr. Dale Butcher, retired Agriculture teacher at Benton Central recalled Jordan as, “the kind of student who was just as interested in learning from those around him as he was to have the conversation. He was easy to talk with and for such a young person, it was a welcomed surprise.”
Throughout our interview, we drifted from the technical details of the S9 combine to the simple pleasure he takes in being part of the family farm in Earl Park. In March of 2016 Berry plans to move back home and work as a contractor for AGCO; splitting his time between designing components remotely and taking on a larger role in the family farm operation. It became very clear as Jordan and I spoke that his appreciation of rural America, his decision to return to the family farm and setting down roots in Benton County is a path he’ll find great success with.
About the Author
The Back Forty is a regular column written by Published Author, Purdue Graduate and Farmland Broker Johnny Klemme. His reporting, interviews with Ag Experts, and more can be found here