Robert Ratliff is founder of president of ProfitableFarming.com Corporation. For the past 13 years, he has owned and operated this company as his primary business enterprise. This web services firm, provides of internet-based agronomy wizards, financial calculators and other interactive web services used by farmers that grow the high-value and intensely managed crops of cotton, rice and peanuts, and the widely-grown crops of corn, soybeans, sorghum and wheat.
His business enterprises utilizes his farm background, agronomy education, computer programming skills and 35 years of agribusiness experience managing farm chemical companies, farm seed suppliers and his web services company. His passion is developing and marketing products and services based on science and technology used in agriculture.
Ratliff established his web services businesses after a diversified career spanning 22 years and five companies that marketed planting seeds and crop protection chemicals to farmers in the United States, Canada and Mexico. He grew up on a cotton farm in southwestern Tennessee during the early adoption of farm chemicals to control weeds and insects, and manage cotton defoliation.
His interest in science and technology led him to become educated as an agronomist, graduating from the University of Tennessee with a Masters Degree in Agriculture, with undergraduate studies in genetics and plant breeding and graduate studies in weed, insect and disease control technologies.
While in college, he also learned to write programming code for IBM 360 mainframe computers using punch cards containing FORTRAN and COBOL statements. Later he wrote programming code using SAS Data Analytics for analyzing studies of farm chemicals at various use rates, ingredient mixtures and application timings.
Also during his college years he worked each summer on research farms operated by agribusiness companies, including CIBA-Geigy, where he scouted cotton fields in the Mississippi Delta for the effectiveness of various chemistries being researched to control bollworms, budworms and other cotton insects.
After earning his MS degree in Agriculture, with a focus on Integrated Pest Management, he joined American Cyanamid Company as a field representative in Tennessee. In addition to his sales responsibilities, Ratliff also wrote software in BASIC for use by farmers in budgeting their crop production expenditures and determining which farm chemicals were the most cost-effective for specific farming practices, particularly no-till plantings where farm chemicals were calculated to be an economic alternative to mechanical cultivation.
In 1984, he advanced to Cyanamid's corporate headquarters in the New York City area to lead the efforts for computer automation of the field sales force. Later, he led the marketing efforts of several herbicide products used on corn, soybeans, cotton, rice and peanuts. While at Cyanamid he also led the commercialization efforts for biotech corn that was genetically engineered for resistance to a new herbicide with greater efficacy and lower environmental impact.
In 1989, he was recruited to BioTechnica Agriculture, based in Kansas City, as Vice President of Marketing. There, he headed the marketing efforts for five regional seed companies with sales of planting seed across the Midwest.
In 1991, he joined Agrigenetics Company, based in Cleveland, and led the strategic planning and business development efforts on several genetic engineering technologies, including vegetable oils low in saturated fat. Afterward, he moved to Saint Paul with Mycogen Plant Sciences where he led the planning and development efforts for corn that was genetically engineered with genes conferring resistance to insect feeding.
In 1996, he joined BASF Agricultural Products, in Research Triangle Park, NC, where he led the marketing efforts for farm chemicals used in rice production and later led the marketing efforts on fourteen weed control products in a thirty state business area.
Upon moving to the Research Triangle Park, he became involved with the Council for Entrepreneurial Development and the Microelectronics Center of North Carolina, where he began to explore new business opportunities in Internet-based technologies applicable to farming and agribusiness.
In 1999, Ratliff achieved his mid-career goal of starting his own company with the founding of ProfitableFarming.com Corporation. Building upon his 22 years of business management experiences with five technology-driven companies, six geographic locations and a myriad business challenges, Ratliff and his company began assisting crop farmers and agribusiness companies with crop production planning and purchase decision support between farmers and their suppliers.
Additionally, he has assisted a variety of agribusiness clients achieve more profitable agribusiness operations with customized online calculators, wizards and simulators, often using controlled-access webpages that provide private interactions between agribusiness firms and their farmer-customers with farm-specific recommendations for crop production products and various financial services.
Over the past 13 years, Ratliff has built his client base to include farmers that produce seven major field crops and assisted them in achieving more profitable farming operations. Other agricultural enterprises includes www.CottonHeatUnits.com , a decision support tool, and www.Ag4G.com, which is preparing apps and web services for the deployment of 4G wireless to smartphones and tablet computer in rural locations. Beyond agriculture, Ratliff supports several clients in other industries and general consumer marketing with www.GlobalShrinking.com.
Ratliff has a life-long relationship in agricultural organizations, starting with his youth in 4-H and FFA, and in college, Alpha Gamma Rho. Throughout his professional career he has been active in the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) where he recently completed a three-year term as Vice President and member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. He has previously served as Chairman of the Membership Committee, Regional Director, and President of the Carolinas Virginia Chapter. For many years he has been active in coaching college students with their marketing plans and judging their marketing presentations in national competition. NAMA has honored him with its Meritorious Achievement Award.
Ratliff lives in Cary, North Carolina with his wife of 32 years, a Registered Nurse who provides skilled health care to the home-based patients of United Home Care. Of their three children, now independent adults, their first son is a swim teacher at Triangle Swim School by day and a musician by night, their second son recently completed four years of service to the people of our country in the United States Navy aboard the USS Mahan and is now a student seeking a degree in pharmacology while continuing his military service in the Navy Reserves. Their daughter is a sophomore at North Carolina State University with studies in Biomedical Engineering and performs with the Wolfpack Howlin' Hunnies.