Grower Support Jobs Explained
With the rise of legal cannabis and the expansion of the controlled environment agriculture (CEA) industry, the hort-tech businesses model has changed dramatically. When cannabis was still illegal and indoor gardening just a fringe hobby, hydroponic equipment companies primarily made products for home growers. Yet, today things look quite different.
As of late 2021, the legal cannabis and hemp business have become multi-billion dollar industries. In fact, studies show that the “U.S. cannabis industry is worth $61 billion” in 2021.
For its part, the much smaller, yet important vertical farming industry was valued at $3.24 billion in 2020.” Nonetheless, research shows that it will likely grow to over $24 billion within the next decade.
With a rapid shift in how the indoor gardening industry operates, new jobs such as direct-to-grower sales and grower support are popping up.
The Direct-to-Grower Sales Model
Due to such rapid growth in commercial production with both cannabis and food crops, horticultural equipment manufacturers have begun selling their supplies direct-to-growers. In doing so, they have cut out the traditional retail hydro garden shop model. As direct-to-grower sales jobs continue to get more popular, sales teams refine these processes for efficiency and effectiveness.
Generally speaking, direct-to-grower salespeople manage a territory such as the Midwestern U.S. In doing so, they conduct complex sales processes where value propositions are largely related to how a specific piece of technology can help a CEA grower produce larger yields. Whether it be with cannabis cultivators or vertical farms, these sales processes involve a partnership between producers and equipment manufacturers.
Whether it be $1 million worth of grow lights or a commercial fertigation system, equipment manufacturers go to great lengths to incentivize their clients. Part of this process is including grower support people for installing, onboarding, and using specific types of cultivation technology.
Sales Support Jobs in Hydroponics and Horticulture
Grower support people work with both sales support and customer service.
Looking at direct-to-grower sales processes, salespeople incentivize customers with in-house horticulturists, engineers, and scientists as part of the whole package of equipment they are selling.
To illustrate, a horticultural lighting manufacturer would offer guidance on lighting design for their customer’s specific warehouse or greenhouse. After the design is put together, grower support people will guide the client on installing the lights, as well as operating them and servicing them in the future.
Grower support duties go far beyond the average tech support you might expect on something like a computer or new software. In fact, grower support people that work for companies like fertigation manufacturers give actual hands-on guidance for using the equipment to maximize production. As such, they actually work with clients to help them achieve production goals that translate directly into financial performance.
Grower support jobs are a relatively new phenomenon in the horticulture and hydroponics industries. Yet, they offer an intriguing new career path for plant scientists, horticulturists, CEA specialists, and technical salespeople.
Required Technical Skills for Grower Support Jobs
To be successful in a grower support job, you must be proficient in the plant sciences, as well as be familiar with CEA technology. Oftentimes, grower support people have degrees in fields such as botany, horticulture, and agronomy.
Common technical skills needed by grower support professionals include:
- Indoor garden design
- Basic engineering
- Greenhouse design
- PAR lighting knowledge
- Irrigation systems
- Organic chemistry
- Airflow principles
Beyond technical skills, grower support jobs also require customer service experience. If you are interested in pursuing this career path, you should be comfortable giving customers detailed directions in-person as well as over the phone.
What Types of Companies Hire for Grower Support Jobs?
Most horticultural equipment and garden supply companies doing direct-to-grower sales have some sort of grower support teams. Common businesses who would hire grower support professionals include:
- Atmospheric controllers
- Horticultural lighting
- Greenhouse engineers
- HVAC systems
- Cultivation substrates
- Greenhouse design & build
- Fertigation systems
- Commercial water filtration & treatment
- Hydroponic nutrients
If a cultivation technology company only manufacturers equipment for home-based growers, it’s likely they won’t need a grower support team.
As leading recruiters in the hydroponics space, Mac and Fulton Talent Partners has seen first-hand the evolutions of the industry. To this end, we regularly work with leading hydroponic equipment manufacturers on difficult-to-fill sales jobs.
As the horticulture and cannabis industries evolve, it’s likely we will see a continued shift towards the direct-to-grower sales model and away from retail sales. That being said, if you have a strong background in horticulture or CEA technology, the recruiting team at M&F Talent would love to work with you.
Talk to M&F Talent About Grower Support Jobs
At Mac and Fulton Talent Partners, we take great pride in being experts in the horticultural technology space. We have a dedicated team of recruiters that work in this challenging, yet exciting vertical.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.