Seed World

Greg Stokke Won’t Stand in Anyone’s Way

Greg Stokke is Western Canada area leader for Corteva Agriscience.

Germination presents a series of stories on the 20 most influential people in the seed sector in 2018. Want to nominate someone for 2019? Email with the subject line “Top 20 nomination”!

Greg Stokke knows the secret to being a great leader: surround yourself with talented, creative people and then get out of their way.

“I will lay out the vision and point out the path, but I’m not going to tell people how to get to the end point,” says Stokke, Western Canada area leader for Corteva Agriscience, the recently-announced spinoff company resulting from the DowDuPont merger.

Corteva Agriscience will officially launch on June 1, 2019. In the mean time, DowDuPont has announced the launch of its new seed brand Brevant in Latin America, Canada and selected European countries. The recent merger means a new vision and some major goals for Stokke and his team to execute and deliver on.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to watch a brand-new standalone pure play ag company like Corteva get started. Between DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences and DuPont Crop Protection, there’s a lot of history there — over 300 combined years. We’re bringing three large, complex organizations together and splitting off an ag division called Corteva Agriscience — but what is Corteva? What does it stand for? What is its guiding philosophy? Lots of great questions,” Stokke says.

“We’re starting with a fresh slate and we’re going to bring all the things that were great about the legacy companies but create something completely new at the same time.”

Based in Watrous, Sask, the 45-year-old graduate of the University of Saskatchewan got started in the agriculture industry in 1995 when he started working for Zeneca Agrochemicals, which would merge with Novartis to form Syngenta. After a decade at Syngenta he moved to DuPont Pioneer, starting as an account manager before working his way up to canola business manager, Western Canada business director and finally Western Canada area leader.

You might say he’s always revelled in building things from scratch.

“I was so interested in the agriculture industry when I finished school because it had so much going for it with new exciting crops and technologies. Farmers and customers are always really passionate about genetics and traits and I wanted to get in at the ground level and build something new,” says Stokke, who in addition to his responsibilities at Corteva Agriscience is also a fourth-generation farmer. His farm is located in Watrous, Sask., just over 100 kilometres east of Saskatoon.

For Stokke, the table is set for success at Corteva Agriscience, but nothing can be taken for granted in an increasingly consolidated and competitive industry. That’s why he’s taking to heart the advice of many great leaders who emphasize the importance of not getting in the way of your team members.

“Starting a new company is about letting go of the past and relearning, which involves empowering employees to make decisions. When I moved to Pioneer 14 years ago, I always felt empowered to do that. I want to pay that forward.”

As the vision for Corteva Agriscience develops, Stokke stands ready to usher in the company’s inaugural era with a simple yet important realization that’s come from his years as a farmer.

“What got us here today won’t get us to the next step in the future. We need new ideas, new perspectives. We need to be open-minded and adaptable. But Corteva’s focus is really tight, and I would venture to say it’s better than it was in its legacy companies. That’s a great spot to be in.”

(Hear Greg talk about the guiding vision for the launch of Corteva Agriscience.)