Kiran Mann has worked for Mosaic for more than 10 years. She earned her doctorate in soil science and horticulture. Kiran currently is responsible for managing Mosaic’s research alliances around the globe on current and new product development.
What inspired you to work in the agriculture industry?
Growing up in India, my dad used to farm and led the crop management department for the State Department of Agriculture. I often heard my father talking to growers educating them on new and different production practices, different products, and guiding them for the best crop and crop nutrition management. Listening to him inspired me to continue exploring the industry. I became very interested in soil science and new technologies for growers that could help them achieve better yields in an environmentally sustainable way.
What motivated you to work at Mosaic?
Mosaic’s mission – to help the world grow the food it needs – ties closely with mine. Agriculture was always a part of my life. Living in the state of Punjab, considered the breadbasket of India because it’s one of the most fertile areas of the country, I was exposed to the industry, but also the challenges growers had to increase yields. The biggest factor for pursuing my career was to try to answer the big question of how we can produce more food to meet the demand of a growing population. For me, that was in research. While pursuing my master’s degree at the University in Punjab, I was part of a research team tasked with analyzing a new sulfur and phosphate fertilizer. The fertilizer was consistently highly effective in a variety of soils and crops, which was extraordinary. I moved on to earn my doctorate at the University of Florida in horticulture, studying citrus fruits. I didn’t know at the time, but I learned that the product I was researching in India was actually Mosaic’s MicroEssentials product and the citrus grove in Florida was owned by Mosaic. I had been indirectly linked to Mosaic for so long and it struck me that Mosaic’s global reach supported its mission by funding research all around the world.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do?
There is one word that brings me to work with energy and enthusiasm – Innovation! Mosaic’s dedication to research and innovation is one of the key reasons I applied here and continue to work here.
I enjoy exploring new research around the globe, including learning about new technologies, products, and science related to the Ag industry. I also explore global academic communities research, like biochemistry, microbiology, and biotechnology. It’s my passion and somewhat of a hobby. I really enjoy learning about advancements in science and technology. Many times, technology applications can be extended to Ag and we can learn from different fields. In my role, I manage our research alliances with world-class academic faculty around the globe. It is very enriching and fun for me to work with them. We get to explore new work, products, and research. They challenge me to think outside of the box and I can challenge them to integrate new ideas too – driving innovative ideas and projects that I can bring back to Mosaic leadership to implement.
Why is research important to Mosaic?
Mosaic is a trusted industry leader in dry granular fertilizers, and we are very successful in this crop management category. However, with changes in advanced crop production practices, new technologies like precise nutrient application, new fertilizer application methods, new germplasms, and environmental challenges; there is an increasing demand to rethink the way a farmer has been managing his farm historically. We need new products and technologies that support a sustainable crop production and at the same time protect the environment too. It is our responsibility to continuously develop new technologies and products that will not only meet the needs of today’s grower, but we should be visionary to meet the needs of a grower years from now.
How is your role (or the company) adapting to meet the future needs of growers?
Oftentimes it can take years to bring a new product to the market. Not only is research important so that we can try and anticipate what the grower will need in 5, 10, or 20 years; but I also work closely with our agronomists and marketing teams to constantly be listening to grower feedback. It’s a cycle. We listen to what the grower is experiencing, what society needs, look at the research of how soils are changing – it is all important to how we are innovating new products. Mosaic’s focus on new technologies is my dream come true. We are looking beyond our core products and working toward new products applied in different ways, products that improve soil health and support advanced crop nutrition, and even new services. We are asking all of the “blue sky” questions and prioritizing what we can implement now or what needs more time or research. It is a very exciting time and growers should be just as excited for what’s to come!