Jerry Stoller — A Lifetime of Achievements
A Different Kind of Thinking
Little things make big differences. The ability to use keen observation to deduce these relationships has been the gift that Jerry Stoller began using as a boy on his family’s Illinois farm in the 1940s. Now, as he celebrates his 80th birthday, Stoller is still using that gift as he manages the plant nutrition products and services that the Stoller Group provides globally.
As a boy, Stoller often worked for neighbors, and noted there were measurable differences in crop quality from farm to farm. This launched his life’s work of discovering the drivers of those differences, and harnessing that knowledge to help producers of all types of crops increase their yields.
While others looked at the diversity of crops, Stoller was noticing something else, something that was a little thing. He saw the similarities of the plants. Whether the crop was corn in Nebraska, soybeans in Illinois, or cotton in Texas, Stoller saw that identifying and managing plant hormone levels and micronutrients could make a big difference in the productivity of the plant.
Staying Close to Growers
Stoller knew that the fastest way to get this information and the related products to farmers was to step out on his own. He launched Stoller Chemical Company in 1970, and with two manufacturing plants and one other employee, achieved $300,000 in sales plus a profit in his first year. Forty-five years later, Stoller is still active as the president and CEO of the Stoller Group, which continues to succeed and lead in plant health innovation.
Growth of the company continued because of another little thing. Stoller recognized the valuable insights and relationship-building that comes from working side-by-side with farmers in their fields. It gave him first-hand knowledge about the stress conditions crops were having, the responses farmers were turning to first, and the opportunities that could make the biggest impacts. By understanding the pivotal stages of the plants’ hormone cycles and growth stages, he could pinpoint how and when to take action.
Globally, farmers and agronomists were acknowledging Stoller’s technology and process. His work has reached more than 50 countries across six continents. Worldwide, farmers saw the benefit of taking proactive steps to keep plants healthy. They recognized Stoller products as complementary to genetic advancements also underway. And, they saw his process and products work across a vast array of crops.
Building for the Future
It is this work that will continue to keep Stoller Group at the forefront of delivering innovative solutions that will feed the world’s continuously growing population. A year ago, Stoller took action to keep the Stoller Group growing and expanding its global reach by breaking ground for a facility that will bring all business units together.
“This move sets the stage for us to continue to build on our successes. As a united team that includes the four businesses of Stoller Group, we’ll be able to analyze the needs of the world’s crop producers and bring new innovations to them more quickly,” Stoller said.
“It is a supreme challenge to find ways to feed the world’s growing population. I get great satisfaction knowing that my work and my passion have helped – and will continue to help – people across the globe.”
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