Leading with Science™ - Jessie Bhalerao


When Jessie Bhalerao first went to Ohio State University, she was determined to tackle the environmental issues she saw affecting the world. When her guidance counselor suggested Agricultural Engineering, she didn't see it as relevant, but after getting experience with conservation planning, she saw that agriculture is foundational to the health of our soil and water environment. 

This made her a perfect fit to be an Agricultural Engineer at Agrible, where we create tools like Morning Farm Report and Find My Seed, which help growers everyday with sustainability and productivity. 

With Find My Seed, we created a tool that digests data from over 300,000 third-party seed trial plots covering 28,000 different varieties and make them searchable, with clear performance metrics showing the top varieties. Jessie was pivotal to its creation, thanks to her experience collecting data from multiple sources to validate national-scale environmental modeling and then translating that analysis into meaningful context and metrics. She worked with the Find My Seed team to compile trial data and investigate variety performance over many conditions, then rank scenarios to develop the rating system and search capabilities. 

Working on Find My Seed also gave Jessie her first chance at seeing how a website works behind the scenes. 

"Because I had an understanding of the data, I got to interact across the team with the developers creating the search functionality and those designing the Find My Seed website," said Jessie. "It was a huge and wonderful education!"

Jessie sees big data tools like Find My Seed and Morning Farm Report as being incredibly influential to the future of agriculture. According to Jessie, the future is with easy-to-use products that meet a growers' needs and help them plan, and making farming and farm services digital. 

"When our founders talk Big Data, they really mean digesting it into an information-rich package that brings its values into focus for our growers," she said. "And they are thinking of new marketing opportunities for growers who've documented their operations and can make environmentally friendly claims about their produce."

Jessie's path to an agricultural career began when she was a little girl. Both of her parents grew up on a farm, and she has fond memories from her grandparents' farms of trying to pet wild barn cats and thinking the fresh milk straight from the cow in her Grandma's fridge tasted a bit different. 

As a grown-up who drinks pasteurized milk, the early parts of her career saw her working with data collection equipment like weather sensors, data logging computers, and environment controls for greenhouses and growth chambers. This experience taught her to understand the data flow from a wire thermometer, from the electronics that produced the temperature information, to collecting the data, to digesting that data into an understandable graph. 

All of that combined with her knack for picking something new and figuring it out grew into skills related to databases and programming, and after having children, programming became a convenient way of working from home while staying involved in the working world. When Agrible offered a job turning data analyses into products for agribusinesses, she jumped at the chance. 

Jessie and her husband live in Savoy, IL with their 4 kids. They visit family in Ohio as much as they can, and look forward to visits from their family in India. Her husband loves to cook, which definitely works for her, and when they're not writing code, they like picking up the guitar and piano to play bad duets.