Phil Krieg: Focused on the Field

A lifelong connection to agriculture transforms a reluctant student into a skilled teacher.
Phil Krieg.
Phil Krieg knew at an early age that he wanted to spend his life in agriculture. Even as a young boy, he preferred dirt to a desk.

“When I was in grade school, it was kind of hard for my parents and teachers to keep me focused on my school work,” says Krieg, who is an agronomic service representative at Syngenta. “I was all about watching what was going on or being outside.”

Growing up on a small family farm in Freeburg, Illinois, Krieg understood the meaning of a hard day’s work earlier than most young boys. Throughout high school, he worked on a neighboring dairy farm. That experience and his community at large helped shape the person he is today.

“The culture of the area where I lived as a youngster was built around farming,” he says. “Most people raised a lot of the food they ate.”

The lessons he learned in that small community have stuck with him over the years. His experiences on the dairy farm in particular taught him to think about long-term solutions, not just quick fixes.

“You don’t just do it for today,” Krieg says. “When you’re working in an intense farming operation like a dairy farm, you’re constantly thinking, ‘If I fix this, I want to have a plan in place that’s going to work for the future rather than just a day-to-day bandage that you’re going to stick on problems.’”

The Full Cycle

Krieg has been in agriculture his whole life and has seen several cycles of technology and practice. That experience helps him bring more value and knowledge to the growers and retailers he works with every day. Krieg has come full cycle, from the little boy who wanted to get out of the classroom to the teacher he is today.

“The core of my job is to create an environment of hands-on teaching, so folks know how to use our products better.”

Phil Krieg

“You can go out and try to sell fungicides all day long,” Krieg says. “But if you take the time to teach people why they should be using the fungicide and the benefits it will bring to their specific farm, then your work goes on beyond just that sale and begins to make a real difference in people’s lives.”

Krieg says he gets a lot of joy from mentoring others about long-term solutions. In his agronomic role, he helps train Syngenta sales representatives in southern Illinois and southwestern Indiana. He also helps retailers understand Syngenta technologies better, so that they, in turn, can talk more knowledgeably to growers about using those products to solve challenges in the field.

“The core of my job is to create an environment of hands-on teaching, so folks know how to use our products better,” Krieg says.

Never Just Coast

Krieg is proud of the strong professional relationships he’s built over the years. One of his major accomplishments, he says with a laugh, is that he has consistently maintained good comradery with the Syngenta sales representatives in his region. That’s partly why he’s in no rush to retire.

“Sometimes you have to realize and appreciate that you’re in the best spot you could ever be in,” he says. “My goal is to finish out my career doing what I’m doing now at Syngenta because it’s a fun job—kind of a dream job, if you will. If I had to create the perfect job for me, this is it.”

That doesn’t mean he’s happy just coasting through a job he enjoys. Krieg wants to continue to grow and be a resource for the region and the people he serves.

“When they think, ‘Who can I call to answer this question?’—whether it be about a Syngenta product or agronomy in general—I want them to think of me,” Krieg says.