In early 2020, Komet launched its very own Academy: a series of product-independent irrigation training seminars, designed to explain key irrigation topics in a detailed yet straightforward manner. Held both online and at different locations worldwide, the Komet Academy sessions are open to anyone wishing to learn more about mechanized irrigation. Josh Mosier, Technical Sales Director of Komet Irrigation Corp. (USA and Canada), talks about what inspired this innovative idea, which irrigation courses are most popular, and why the company decided to share its expertise in an entirely product-independent way.
How did the Komet Academy first come about, and what was the motivation behind it?
Josh Mosier: Early in my time with Komet, CSO Hugo Drechsel and I were talking about how to make an impact in an industry that was very product-based with very little knowledge of how to apply the products effectively in the field. There was a knowledge gap between the small number of design experts, and the customers selling and using the products. Our goal was to educate people in a way that helped them understand the field environment and how the applied irrigation water interacted with it – so that they could make an informed decision.
Who is the Komet Academy irrigation training mostly aimed at?
J.M.: The main target group is anyone in the industry that regularly works with mechanized irrigation systems in the world of agriculture – mainly dealers, irrigation technicians and growers, though we also work with educational institutions and government agencies.
Where did the first Academy take place, and what were the reactions?
J.M.: The first one was held at a Growers’ Meeting in Nebraska with around a dozen center pivot irrigators. After the session, the collective response of the group was that they had been using pivots for decades, but no one had ever explained in detail how sprinkler water application worked. There were a lot of questions and interactions, which was exactly the result we wanted!
Do you always discuss new topics, or are the seminars based on a cycle of recurring focal points?
J.M.: The main points are recurring, as they are the foundation of the irrigation courses, but we are constantly expanding our Komet Academies with new topics and data from the field. As we interact with the people in our Komet Academy sessions, new questions arise, and we address those both individually during the training, and as part of future seminars if we feel that this will be beneficial to a wider group of growers.
How unusual is it to share in-depth expertise with clients and non-clients alike – and to do so with a completely product-neutral approach?
J.M.: Having been in the industry for many years prior to helping develop the first Komet Academy, I had never seen any approach this comprehensive yet product-independent, and I have yet to see it emerge elsewhere… I would say it is very unusual.
Which Academy irrigation courses have been especially popular so far?
J.M.: “Building a Better Sprinkler Package” is the foundation for all of the series, and remains very popular for that reason. “Troubleshooting” and “Lowering Application Intensity” are very popular too, and “Wheel Track Options” get a lot of attention in parts of the world where those issues are prevalent.
How many people usually take part in a session, and which countries are they from? Are the participants mostly growers and existing Komet customers?
J.M.: It can be as few as a couple of people to well over a hundred, and it varies a lot depending on the setting it is presented in. Komet Academy sessions have been presented all over the world, and especially our online training will have a very diverse audience from many different countries. Growers, dealers, design engineers, sales professionals, existing Komet customers and non-customers alike attend these sessions, as they teach fundamentals of field design, instead of pitching products.
Given that the Academy is not geared towards boosting sales, how would you describe its primary purpose?
J.M.: The goal of the Komet’s irrigation training is to connect with folks through education about a subject that is very important to their success in the business of agriculture, as well as making sure that our most precious natural resource, water, will be plentiful for future generations to come.
To find out more about the Komet Academy and sign up for the session(s) of your choice, go to Komet Academy.