While Courtney Chabot Dreyer grew up in rural Iowa, she did not grow up on a farm. Her only exposure to farming was on school field trips, visits to relative’s farms and detasseling corn and walking beans in the summer to get money to buy school clothes. It wasn’t until she came to work for Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., in 2001 that she understood why and how detasseling is a critical part of commercial seed production.
Courtney works at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., which was founded by Henry A. Wallace, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Vice President. Pioneer is part of the recently merged DowDuPont and will soon become part of a new, yet-to-be-named, agriculture company. The work she does enables their seed companies to offer farmers better seeds to increase their farms' productivity and income. From drafting production agreements to negotiating licensing rights to new technologies, Courtney execute the tedious, legal documents that give their companies the right to commercialize new and better agricultural inputs that yield more and reduce agriculture's environmental impacts.
Before she became an in-house lawyer, Courtney worked in Corporate Communications for Pioneer. She was the company spokesperson and coordinated media relations, public affairs and issues management, among other things. Pioneer provided her with support and flexibility to continue working full time, while attending law school, and she moved into the Legal department in 2013.
Courtney primarily works out of an office at Pioneer's global headquarters in Johnston, Iowa. However, technology allows her to work anywhere in the world, and she has. Courtney has spent time working in states from coast to coast, and in France, Belgium, Denmark and Italy. Each year she spends time with seed dealers, agronomists and customers, believing it is important to be reminded who she REALLY works for and seeing the products growing on a customer's farm.
"Our company is creating seeds to help feed the world—a noble mission. I enjoy working for a global company with a rich history of innovation that has shaped modern agriculture. Further, it's amazing working with colleagues based all over the world who speak different languages and have unique cultures, but who are all focused on the common goal of improving farmers' lives. Best of all, I get to do that while living in my home state of Iowa, in the middle of the U.S. farm belt—some of the most fertile and productive farmland in the world."
Courtney never intended to spend most of her career working in the agriculture industry, but she is glad that she stumbled into it, and wouldn’t change it for the world. "Working in agriculture is incredibly rewarding, intellectually challenging, technologically advanced and humbling. And I wouldn’t have been able to pursue a law degree without the support of Pioneer. It has truly changed my life and defines my professional career."
It is always an important reminder to get back to basics and remember exactly why we do our job! We think it is super cool Courtney that you spend time with the farmers at the grassroots of agriculture, all while looking after the legalities behind your company.