Get to know Karl Wyant, Director of Agronomy
Published: Feb 13, 2023
When Dr. Karl Wyant was approached by an ag retailer looking for an agronomist back in 2014, the first thing he did was Google: “What is an agronomist?” After his first day on the job, he knew it was what he wanted to do. Fast forward to May of 2022, Karl was named Nutrien’s Director of Agronomy.
“I like being on farms and helping growers succeed, and that’s still a passion that drives me,” he says. “What I like about working in agriculture is that it’s an applied science – you’ve got to go get something done and solve problems. It’s a really rewarding career.”
Karl was first introduced to soil science while earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado (2005). After working as a microscope technician in a soil lab, he got his master’s at Colorado State University, which took him up to North Alaska to study permafrost soil science (2008). While this was a fun experience at the time, he got tired of being cold and wet and decided to go where it’s hot and dry – Arizona State University, where he got his PhD in desert soil science (2014).
In 2014, Karl began working for Helena Agri-Enterprises as a desert agronomist, a natural transition from being a desert soil scientist. In this role, he worked with growers and salespeople on soil fertility and fertilizer programs, and three years later, was promoted to the company’s Western Lead Agronomist, where he directed the agronomy and precision ag efforts across California and Arizona. A career change then led him to become the Vice President of Ag Science at a biotech firm in Phoenix, Arizona (2019), and last year he joined Nutrien to head up the Agronomy team.
An award-winning team
Karl’s team may be small, but it’s also mighty. The four amigos, as he refers to the group, include Senior Agronomists Dr. Alan Blaylock and Mike Howell and Marketing Manager Suzanne Fletcher. Together, they help Nutrien’s wholesale sales team sell fertilizer, support Nutrien’s Premium Fertilizer Technologies, and market our products and advanced formulations to help growers and ag retail customers.
“Our team has lots of experience, but this year we’re returning to the basics,” says Karl. “We are asking questions like, ‘Why do we need fertilizer?’ and ‘Why is Nutrien in a great position to provide it?’ Well, fertilizer is a technological revolution for humanity, and we provide the complete NPK portfolio. We’ve been having some great conversations about our ‘why’ recently and will be doing more of that in 2023. We are also focusing on our efforts in the sustainability sector with our involvement in several initiatives across our NPK portfolio including joining the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance.”
The team is also busy achieving industry awards and recognitions. For starters, last year Karl was named one of The Scoop’s Top 40 under 40 for his leadership in the ag industry.
“There are some pretty heavy hitters on that list, so I’m really happy with how things turned out,” he says. “It’s always nice to be recognized and I’m glad to be able to represent Nutrien with this award.”
Karl also earned a Top 40 under 40 award from Fruit and Vegetable Grower Magazine, Alan received the 2022 Great Plains Soil Fertility Conference Leadership Award, and Mike and Suzanne earned internal recognition for their work on The Dirt podcast.
On the marketing side, the team also cleaned up at the 2022 National Agriculture Marketing Association (NAMA) and Canadian Agriculture Marketing Association (CAMA) awards, and that momentum is continuing in 2023. Check out the complete list of awards below.
- Karl is an avid gardener, taking full advantage of the sunshine and great soil in Phoenix
- He makes orange juice for his neighbors from the citrus tree growing in his backyard
- Along with agronomy and gardening, you may be surprised to learn that Karl is passionate about heavy metal music
2022/2023 NAMA and CAMA awards
- First place (NAMA 2022): Nutrien’s Premium Fertilizer Techologies Tradeshow iPad Hub
- Best of CAMA 2022 website: ESN Smart Nitrogen
- Best of CAMA 2022 exhibits: Smart Nutrition: Sand-sculpted tractor emphasizes the importance of maintaining healthy soil
- Merit for NAMA 2022 multimedia campaigns: Smart Nutrition MAP+MST Retail kit
- Merit for NAMA 2022 advertorials: Smart Nutrition MAP+MST ‘Busting the Myths’ advertorial
- Merit for NAMA 2022 Smartphone Apps: eKonomics mobile app
- First place (NAMA 2023 Region 2): AdFarm ESN bell hop ‘At your service’ radio spot
- First place (NAMA 2023 Region 2): AdFarm ESN farm progress crop art
- Merit for NAMA 2023: AdFarm ESN Retail kits
- Merit for NAMA 2023 webinars and podcasts: AdFarm eKonomics The Dirt podcast