Changing industries is a big adjustment. There’s a whole new vernacular to learn, new people to meet and an entirely new world to adjust to. But what about making the move from one part of an industry to another?
That’s exactly what Tyler Jeffs did. Tyler is an AgWise Certified agent, a designation based on his extensive knowledge of agriculture products and experience in assisting producers in insuring ag operations correctly. He got his start in ag supplies and runs his own ranch. In 2004, he made the move from ag sales to the insurance industry — a move he says is the best one he’s ever made.
What Did You Do Before Becoming an Agent?
I worked at a seed and feed store providing all types of ag supplies.
What Inspired You to Make the Change From Agriculture to Insurance Agent?
Another Farm Bureau agent recognized my passion for ag and knew I wanted to be self-employed. I was working hard for someone else making them a pile of money. I knew my own effort would pay off. I wanted to take care of my family on my terms, with my own hours.
I was working so much on others’ ranches that mine was being neglected, and honestly, it didn't pay well. Now I get to work with all the same people, I get paid drastically better, I have better hours and I get to spend the time farming and ranching that I want to.
What’s Been the Biggest Adjustment?
My biggest adjustment is how I perceive myself. Maybe that sounds odd. But our role as agents is crucial to families, and I have a big responsibility to them. We are professionals. This isn't a job to me. This is who I am.
What Does It Mean to Be an Agwise Certified Agent?
The role of a good Farm Bureau agent changes the lives of ag producers. It sounds corny, but being proactive and doing the right things for the client can make positive generational differences. The feeling of satisfaction that comes from that is deeply personal. I keep the current generation profitable and the next generation in the game.
What Does Your Day-to-Day Look Like?
I go on-site to a lot of farms and ranches during the day. I have great staff that handles office needs and call-ins. My clients love and appreciate my background. Most insurance agents don't really know what it means to have ag in your blood.
Ranchers don’t want to see a city slicker pull up to the corral. They assume right away that the guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. They like when I can get in there and help for a few minutes or appreciate what they’ve built.
Do You Have Any Advice for New Agents Looking to Connect With Their Clients?
My best advice to new agents would be a few things:
- Work hard and put in the hours. Most people can’t handle being self-employed. They can’t manage their own time.
- Give it time to work. Most successful agents I know were poor (including me) for several years. But working hard and doing it correctly brings major rewards. So don’t give up. Be willing to go through the hard times. The horizon is wonderful!
- Learn from the best. Surround yourself with those in the industry who are the best. Take them to lunch, quiz them, ask for advice, then act on the advice.
What Is the Best Piece of Advice You Received When You Got Started That You Still Think About Today?
The best advice I was given was to hang in there. It will work out, if you operate correctly. Hire the right people for the right job. You can’t get where you need to be being a one-man show. Develop yourself spiritually, professionally, mentally. Be balanced. Be a resource others can count on for guidance.
What Do You Love Most About Being a Farm Bureau Agent?
Making the change was the best thing I ever did. I work my rear end off, but this is my passion, along with my own ranch. I’m very blessed to do both.
Become a Farm Bureau Agent
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