Innovation Profile: Judd O'Connor

Judd O'Connor, Corteva Agriscience

Innovation is key to advancing agriculture

Innovation has always been the lifeblood of American agriculture. From the hybrid corn seed and milking machines farmers adopted nearly a century ago, to the digital technology, robotic equipment and biotech traits that farmers are using today, farmers have quickly adopted technologies and management practices that allow them to produce more food more efficiently and sustainably.

As farmers look to the future to meet the growing needs of society, they will continue to need new innovations to solve challenges.

“I’m excited to see that many of these new ideas are coming from more places than ever before — university researchers, labs of global companies like Corteva Agriscience, small startups, classrooms, and even the machine sheds of cutting-edge farmers — all bringing their own perspectives and skills,” said Judd O’Connor, President of the U.S. Commercial Business, Corteva Agriscience. “We need these diverse groups to continue to listen to and collaborate with each other in order to test, develop and bring to market the next generation of ideas that will change the world.”

Judd provides leadership for Corteva’s five Commercial Units responsible for the seed, digital and crop protection business in the U.S. – Corteva was formed from the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, and is the only U.S. headquartered company of scale dedicated to ag seed, crop protection, and digital solutions.

Judd first joined Corteva through the Pioneer business in 1999 after beginning his career in the crop protection industry. He has held various leadership positions in the Pioneer sales organization, including business director and vice president. Judd also served the DuPont organization as president, DuPont Latin America, located in Sao Paulo, Brazil. After returning to the U.S. from his Latin America role, he served as vice president, Integrated Operations for DuPont Pioneer, then had responsibilities for integration activities supporting the merger of DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company.

“At Corteva Agriscience, we are committed to developing innovative new products and services that help farmers improve productivity and profitability of their operations, while sustainably meeting the needs of consumers everywhere,” he said. “Our scientists are leading the way with a focused commitment to delivering sustainable solutions to enrich the lives of farmers and consumers.”

Corteva Agriscience

Corteva employs more than 21,000 people globally, and has more than 3,000 employees in Iowa, with one of two Global Business Centers in Johnston. The Johnston Global Business Center serves as the company’s global seed headquarters and houses state-of-the-art molecular biology, breeding, insect and research facilities, seed applied technology centers and advanced automated greenhouses. More than 2,000 employees are engaged in research and development, parent seed production and business operations across the site’s 40 buildings in the heart of Iowa.

“America’s farmers need innovation to sustainably meet the growing demands of today’s society,” he said. “I’m excited about the new innovations that Corteva Agriscience is bringing to farmers to generate tremendous productivity and value in an environmentally and economically sustainable way.”

Software and digital agriculture solutions are giving farmers the real-time, field-by-field information they need to maximize yield, manage input costs, and make sustainable decisions for every acre of their farms. Granular is at the leading edge of digital agriculture, discovering, testing and validating digital agricultural technologies to help farmers make the most of their acres.

Products like Qrome® corn insect protected products provide growers with the optimal combination of insect protection, agronomic performance and yield potential. The corn plants are fully equipped with a triple stack of defensive traits and dual modes of action to defend against above – and below-ground insect pests, and offer an integrated refuge solution.

The Enlist® weed control system combines the most advanced soybean trait technology and Enlist E3® soybeans* with three herbicide modes of action to provide farmers with weed control choices to meet their specific needs. Controlling weeds is critical to protecting the growing crop from weeds that will compete for nutrients, allowing farmers to be more efficient and productive.
Each of these innovations is keenly important for farmers and consumers alike, and aligned by Corteva’s 2030 sustainability goals.

America’s Cultivation Corridor
Judd is currently serving a two-year term as the chair of America’s Cultivation Corridor.

“The Corridor gives a voice to Iowa’s ag innovators and helps make important connections to ensure that the best ideas are given a chance to succeed,” he said.

He noted that programs like the new Cultivo Global Ag Innovation Program will bring entrepreneurs from around the world to Iowa where they can learn about innovations happening here and share their own ideas to improve agriculture.

“It is a great time to be in agriculture and there are huge opportunities for careers in all areas of the industry,” he said. “We need talented people with all kinds of skills and ideas – from science, agronomy, digital technology, collaboration to sales, marketing and more – to join us in helping farmers meet the needs of Iowans and the 9 billion people around the world.”

*The transgenic soybean event in Enlist E3® soybeans is jointly developed and owned by Dow AgroSciences LLC and MS Technologies LLC.