Encirca Services, DuPont Pioneer – Celine Beggs

I truly believe precision agriculture and big data will are the future of production agriculture. I have always been fascinated with the many different areas of precision agriculture, so it was only fitting that I was able to complete an internship with the Encirca Services team at DuPont Pioneer in Johnston, Iowa.

Encirca Services is a suite of services created by DuPont Pioneer. There are several different services that a grower can utilize in their everyday operations. Encirca Services encompasses a large rural weather network, variable seeding and nitrogen prescription, and a huge collection of field notes.

Through my internship as the Encirca Services Marketing Intern, I was able to complete many different projects that all helped me learn about the industry as well as gain professional experience. I worked on a pleather of projects that ranged from legal to research to marketing and advertising.

In the beginning, I had three main goals. First, I was asked to contact DuPont Pioneer Seed Representatives to promote the Encirca View Premium Weather Station from DTN/The Progressive Farmer. I was excited to help contribute to the growth of the largest rural weather network as I contacted and sold 150+ stations. Next, I was asked to create a social media campaign using some of the new marketing terms created by the advertising agency and the marketing team. Finally, I was tasked to create a weekly metric report that showed the growth of notes taken per business unit. I had little experience with Microsoft Excel until I started this project, but I eventually became proficient with the program.

Although I had three main projects, I was able to step outside of these areas and complete some smaller projects. One project was to create legal documents for the Encirca Services CSAs. Another project I was asked to help with was to take on a small role in an administrational position for a research project. I was also asked to help represent our service at the InfoAg 2015 Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. I was able to pitch our product to many of the precision agriculture industries best.

I learned about the internship programs offered by DuPont Pioneer through K-State’s All University Career Fair. The representatives did not promote a specific position as they promoted all internships across many different areas. After discussing the opportunities offered by DuPont Pioneer with a friend who previously interned with the company was it that I learned about the Encirca Services Marketing Internship position.

I would recommend this internship to someone who is interested in precision agriculture and wants to gain a broad view of a marketing position. I was lucky to see all of the different aspects that make up a marketer. An interested individual needs to be self motivated and is always willing to ask for help if the get stuck.

All of the internships for DuPont Pioneer can be found here: https://www.pioneer.com/home/site/about/careers/student-center/internships/.

Kansas Soybean Association – Dana Schultz

Dana kssoybean


As the summer after my sophomore year quickly approached, I realized my resume was seriously lacking in professional experiences. I needed a summer internship, but I was a little behind. Everyone else was already applying and interviewing for prospective positions. I scoured every website for potential summer internship. I found one on the Career Employment Services website in Topeka, Kansas for the Kansas Soybean Association and Commission. My family grows soybeans and I had a little bit of knowledge on commodity organizations. The post simply stated it was a summer internship with a variety of responsibilities and duties. During the interview, they decided I was the right fit for the position and we set a date for me to start.

One of my major projects was designing and collecting data for the Kansas Congressional Districts report. I used the United States Department of Agriculture’s website to gather statistics about agriculture. These statistics focused on quantity and dollar amounts of crops and livestock raised in the United States. The report was organized to show total production amounts in Kansas, total production amounts for Kansas counties, and where Kansas ranked among other states. The crops recognized were soybeans, corn, wheat, sorghum and sunflowers, and the animal products included beef, pork, milk, wool, and honey. Once I had all the information, I designed graphics and illustrations to display this information. Once designed and thoroughly proofed, I presented the printed and electronic version to Kansas Senators and Representatives in Washington D.C. during the National Biodiesel Conference.

I was also in charge of planning the annual Corporate Tour. Each year, the Commission and Association board members travel to a different part of Kansas to tour local agriculture business and meet area members for a few days. During my internship, McPherson, Kansas, was the destination. I was in charge of contacting caterers, meeting venues, restaurants, businesses, and potential guests. I had to keep accurate records of all communication that took place and report all the options for everyone in the office to vote on. Once the itinerary was finalized, I designed and mailed invitations and personally contacted board members to gather a number of attendees. The trip included a tour of Lindsborg, Kansas, a tour of AgCo in Hesston, Kansas, a tour of McPherson’s oil refinery, a tour of PrairieLand Partners, a tour of the Hesston, Kansas lawn mower factory, a meeting at the McPherson Opera House, meals catered during lunch and dinners at local restaurants.

Among other smaller office duties, I created and mailed the annual Biodiesel Survey, traveled to farm shows to promote soy products, updated the membership data used in presentations, presented a soy products presentation to the Emerging Leaders Academy, and attended various conferences for soy products and biodiesel.

My internship started in May of 2014 and ended in August of 2014. This internship was a great opportunity to meet industry professionals, travel, boost communication skills and sharpen professional abilities. The people I worked with were great at finding the balance between a learning college student and a business professional. They were flexible with me and constantly pushed me to do my absolute best. I learned how to better connect my presentations and designs to the audience and to keep accurate records of communications while planning an event. This is a great internship for anyone who isn’t quite sure where they want to go in the industry. The supervisors easily tailor the internship to build your experience to fit your goals.

To apply for the Kansas Soybean Commission internship, visit http://kansassoybeans.org/forms/ or contact Kenlon Johannes at Johannes@kansassoybeans.org.

Monsanto Field Sales Internship- Nathan Lauden

My dad always told me “You can do anything for a summer. Take advantage of some crazy internships if they let you!” I have taken this advice to heart and this past summer it played out in full!

This past summer I had the opportunity to be a part of the DEKALB/Asgrow team in Western Wisconsin as a Field Sales Intern for Monsanto.  It was filled with challenges, plenty of learning opportunities and a whole host of new and exciting adventures as I went through my 3 months with the company.

I found out about my internship through visiting the all-university career fair that K-State Career and Employment Services offers every fall. It is packed with 250+ employers in Bramlage Coliseum with companies looking for interns to full-time employees, engineering to family studies and everything in between. Monsanto was one of the companies looking for interns at the fair and after speaking to their recruiter I quickly found myself having a great conversation about my background with 4-H and FFA and skills that I had learned through those organizations. This conversation ended up with being invited for an on-campus interview the following day with a different recruiter.

Following the on-campus interview I was told to await a response and it came the last week in October. I was asked to be a part of a group of 40 Field Sales Interns that came from universities spanning the nation, Fresno State to Penn State. The next step was awaiting our location placements and this is where I was honestly almost giddy inside. When asked where I would like to be placed for the summer I chose to go out of my comfort zone and say “why not?” I had asked to be anywhere but Kansas and Missouri and try living in a new part of the country for the summer. I figured when else in college will I have the chance to really test drive a new part of the country so thoroughly and have a unique experience like this? After my options were given I chose to be a part of the DEKALB/Asgrow Wisconsin team and placed with my boss for the summer Kevin Altendorf, who was the District Sales Manager for, generally speaking, the western part of Wisconsin closest to the Twin Cities.

In general I was told that my responsibilities would include some general sales type work in regards to helping the team, but in all honesty I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant. When we arrived in St. Louis at Monsanto headquarters for our orientation week, we were given much clarity as to our projects for the summer and what that would look like for the next three months.

We were tasked with three large projects and then expected to handle any other sort of work our on-site bosses had for us to do. These included:

  • Customer Calls- this includes calling on around 40 current, past or potential customers of DeKalb/Asgrow products. This is to get exposure to real growers and what they do on a day-to-day. Since these are our customers getting a chance to meet them and know who they are is very important. I chose to use this experience to come away with why do they choose Monsanto products in general versus using competitors.
  • Climate Corporation and Top Producers- This project consists of my calling on 28 “Top Producers” for Monsanto to discuss and complete a survey with. These are very large growers within my region, as they are high volume customers of Monsanto. Our role is to discuss Climate Corporation, a new company and technology to Monsanto that became available in November.
  • Team Project- this means that I will be setting up a project with my trainer to the benefit of his work and the team. I chose this experience to be a market analysis of three counties within my territory to find out in what ways can we grow business with our customers within that area.

 

In terms of learning experiences this past summer I learned such an incredible amount. The biggest piece was I found out that I have the capacity to learn about any topic if I choose to work hard. I am not from a production agriculture background and knew nothing compared to many of the interns that I started with about row crops. The best thing for me was that I had an incredible mentor in my boss who was able to meet me where I was at and help me to learn more about the business and agronomy in general. I learned to not be shy about asking questions, because even though I may look back now on some of my questions during the first week and think, wow what was I thinking asking that, there is a huge amount of value to asking the basic questions.

My favorite part of the internship was getting to meet with the actual producers and visiting with them about their operations. This was something that, as an agricultural communications major, I felt I had been lacking in my experiences so far, and never felt like I was able to connect with on-campus assignments due to that. But now I can put a face to my writing projects. I can say to myself, I am writing this for Jim, or what would Adam want general consumers to know about his farm, so I can better advocate for them.

I would highly recommend this internship experience to anyone who has a desire to know more about sales or understand more about agronomy and row crop producers. You are very well taken care and given an incredible network to feel safe asking questions and relying on. As much as this project is meant for them to see you perform they also want to see you grow as not only a sales employee but as a person.

Rodd Whitney is a great contact to know more about the Field Sales Internship program as well as full-time placement within Sales at Monsanto.

IGP Institute- Kelly Hannigan

As I was finishing up my junior year, it was finally starting to dawn on me that graduation was quickly approaching. Agricultural communications had always been my home and I was happy there but I knew that if I wanted to get a head start on my career, I needed to take the first steps in gaining professional experience.

I’m not entirely sure why, but I had always pictured internships as they were portrayed in movies. I assumed I’d be fetching coffee and making copies for eight hours a day, five days a week and if I was lucky, I might be able to write a news release once in a while. Thankfully, my internship at the IGP Institute was nothing like I had initially imagined.

After coming back from Christmas break when my parents so kindly urged me to make a career plan, I began searching the Career and Employment Services job board online. However, I ended up hearing about the IGP Institute communications internship through the ACJ listserv. What drew me to this position was the reputation that the IGP Institute possesses throughout campus. In all honesty, I wasn’t entirely sure what it was that they did but I knew that they were a very prestigious establishment and the students that had worked there before had wonderful things to say about their time there.

In the spring of 2014, I was offered the communications internship and I am still presently working there as a part-time communications intern and part-time distance education intern. As the communications intern, I was responsible for writing and editing press releases, updating and maintaining the social media platforms and updating the website. As a summer project, the associate director of the IGP Institute, Mark Fowler, also asked me to conduct social media research project to help improve their overall marketing efforts. The research included conducting five focus groups and then later creating a top line report to present to the IGP staff and advisory board members.

It’s incredibly difficult for me to narrow down a specific area that I feel like I’ve grown the most this summer. From a technical standpoint, I was able to refine my writing skills to create professional news releases. As far as personal growth, one of the most rewarding aspects of the internship for me was the involvement with the course participants. I had lived a fairly sheltered life growing up in Strong City, Kan. I had never really been around so many different cultures or experienced first-hand the diversity that the IGP courses had to offer. I think I learned more from the conversations I had with the participants than I ever did in a classroom. The interaction with the participants was by far my favorite part of the internship. I was able to develop networking relationships with industry professionals from not only Kansas, but from around the world.

If I had to choose any one thing that I least enjoyed about my internship at IGP, it would probably be the desk time. I’ve never been the kind to enjoy sitting at a desk for eight hours a day. Luckily, this internship provided many field trip opportunities where I was able to tag along and take photos so I wasn’t always in the office. It did teach me however, that when I look for a job after graduation, I need something that incorporates fieldwork into the communications position.

Taking this internship was easily the best decision I’ve made since attending K-State. I’ve not only grown as a professional, but as a person. I was incredibly lucky to work with such a talented group of people at IGP that were genuinely interested in teaching me. Even the staff members that weren’t involved with the communications department took the time to help me with any questions I had or involve me in each project. I may not have a lot of industry experience, but I do know that the IGP Institute team is one of the best work environments I will ever be in. They were always quick to congratulate me any time a news release was published and always wanted to see each other succeed. Just by being around this incredible group of people, I’ve learned what a professional team truly is.

To apply for internships at the IGP Institute, contact Lisa Moser at lmoser@ksu.edu. I would highly recommend this internship to anyone that wants to get his or her foot in the door with the agricultural industry. Even if you aren’t sure what it is you want to do after graduation, this is a great job to jump in to. There are all aspects of communications incorporated into this position ranging from video editing to creating news releases.

DuPont Pioneer- Marie Annexstad

This summer I worked for DuPont Pioneer as a Marketing Communications intern. My position was located in the Northern Business Unit office which is in Mankato, Minnesota and allowed me to live in my home state for the summer. I started in the middle of May and completed my internship at the end of August.

I found out about this job position through the Kansas State University Career Fair.

An internship’s outcome depends on what you make of the opportunities you have been presented with. When I began this position I had a set of tasks which I had to complete. While I was setting my goals along with my supervisor I asked if she would consider allowing me to take on a standing initiative in the business unit and create a marketing plan for it. She agreed and handed me the reins of the launch of GrowingPoint agronomy in the business unit.

Pioneer’s presence at trade shows provided opportunities to promote GrowingPoint using the already established channels. We ran a strong social media push beginning with our first trade show during the first week in August continuing through our last trade show that ended in the middle of September. Other methods of promotion included print, digital, and radio media. Creating this marketing plan was the favorite part of my internship.

In the beginning, I was immediately put to work on the design and launch of a brand new initiative. This initiative was the creation of digital sell sheets, for our business unit. I found this assignment to be the most difficult part of my internship as a lot of data had to be organized in Excel. I did, however, become proficient in using Excel more efficiently. Sell sheets have links to Pioneer.com product profile pages that display large amounts of agronomic information which assists sales representatives and growers to make informed decisions on the right products for their operations.

Next, it was my responsibility to choose an app which would be the best format to display the sell sheets in.  Through much research I found the app Adobe Reader to be the most useful. I developed and presented a tutorial that would help guide sales representatives step-by-step through the process of how to use sell sheets effectively with customers throughout the business unit.

In addition, I was fortunate to have been given the job of organizing and planning trade shows. During the summer the Northern Business Unit attends four major summer trade shows: Minnesota Farm Fest, Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, Dakota Fest, and Big Iron. Planning of each show included opportunities to lead conference calls with different committees to make sure logistics were in order including graphics, giveaways, landscaping, promotional material, and workers.  Each show hosted a different array of people, and required different tactics to market Pioneer® products. I traveled to and attended all of the trade shows and coordinated Pioneer’s presence at each show on-site.

I enjoyed being given the responsibility to design various graphics to market Pioneer’s new initiatives Pioneer GrowingPoint Agronomy and Encirca Services.

I also assisted with creating materials to help sales representatives with their responsibilities. These included corn and soy print sell sheets, forage print sell sheets, and handouts on various topics. Encirca Services was a new initiative for Pioneer this year, so I created a tutorial for sales representatives to aid them in understanding of the process of how to make an Encirca Note.

My experience with Pioneer as an intern this summer helped me to develop professionally. I was expected to work independently.  As a result I learned to prioritize as I juggled many responsibilities. I learned to communicate efficiently and effectively with my superiors. The work environment was intense and professional. I learned to conduct myself in a similar manner. Overall, this was the best internship experience I have had thus far. I am confident that the after I graduate from college I will be pursuing a career in marketing and communications in a work environment similar to Pioneer.

I recommend this internship to anyone who loves design, event planning, and marketing. It was a great place for me to grow and develop professionally. To apply, visit the DuPont Pioneer Career Development Center.

Mid Kansas Cooperative Internship- Calli Mathews

Mid Kansas Cooperative Association is a full-service farm cooperative offering a complete line of supplies and services for both farm and urban customers in 11 counties throughout central Kansas. MKC has a current membership of more than 4,800 members. MKC was founded in 1965 by the merger of three neighboring cooperatives in Moundridge, Buhler, and Groveland. Since its founding, it has grown in size and territory through mergers and acquisitions. More than 200 employees play an important role in the growth and success of MKC. Thirty-four grain locations offer combined elevator space of 29.3 million bushels. Wheat is the major crop grown. Due to the area having a strong aquifer underlying much of its territory, this allows irrigation of corn and soybeans. MKC offers a lot of different services some of which include: Agronomy, Precision Ag, Energy, Feed, Grain, and Financial assistance. I was fortunate enough to have interned for MKC and will be discussing the things that I gained from this experience.

During my internship, I was assigned a lot of different duties. When I first arrived at MKC, my first task was heading the Annual Meeting. Some of my responsibilities involved finding a caterer, photographer, florist, entertainment, and workers to help with registration. The event took place at the State Fair Grounds in Hutchinson, Kansas. We were only allowed 48 hours to set up for the event and a lot of time went into setting up stages, decorations, tables and chairs. During the Annual Meeting, I was responsible for prompting speakers and working with the tech employees.

The answer plot session that MKC provided was an educational tool for the farmers to see the different crop and herbicide varieties that would fit into their crop rotations. My responsibility was to send out the mailings providing the general information about the event. The day of the event I was heading the registration table and overseeing the preparation of the food. Along with this event came customer appreciation meals. After wheat harvest is over MKC puts on meals at the different locations within their territory. Among these, the MKC employees and I would prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner for the members and their families. This was an opportunity for MKC to get out among their members and show the appreciation they have for them. This was the most enjoyable part of my internship because I was able to get out and meet the variety of people that MKC provided services to.

I was also involved in heading the community stewardship campaign. MKC was fortunate enough to be in a partnership with Land O Lakes, in which we were able to bid for grants to help out communities in our surrounding area. I was able to meet the different organizations and help make their projects come true. Within the last five years, MKC has been able to donate over $300,000 to different organizations. I was also able to use my dsign skills by heading other campaign projects for Team Marketing Alliance, which was the Grain division for MKC. Coupling that, I brainstormed ideas for the new MKC website and Facebook page. This was something I was apprehensive about, but gained a lot of experience and confidence through working with graphic designers and the tech employees.

I was able to gain a lot of experience by writing for the company website, employee newsletter and the MKC magazine “Connections”. This was a neat aspect of the internship because I was able to interview new people and employees. Also, I got the opportunity to write all of the biographies for the Field Marketers, Certified Energy Specialist and board members. Along with the writing I got a lot of editing experience. MKC invited their employees to write articles for both publications, so with that all of them needed editing.

MKC taught me a lot about how to be confident in myself and take charge in any situation. A lot of that was due to my supervisor who was diagnosed with cancer right before my internship began. I had to hit the ground running the moment I set foot in her office. She gave me the opportunity to step up and use the skills that I obtained in class and put them to work in the real world. I was able to put my public speaking skills to the test when I was asked to give a presentation to the CEO and board members about the new Facebook page I was creating. Overall, I was able to understand the cooperative sector. Before this experience I hadn’t put much thought into what a Coop really was. However, after being so involved with MKC I learned that the cooperative sector is where I would like to stay. At the end of the day, we are there for the farmers and their families and I appreciated the effort that MKC put into satisfying each and every one of them.

Kansas Wheat Internship- Nicole Stieben

Kansas Wheat is the cooperative agreement between the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. The Kansas Wheat Commission is an advocacy organization, which is funded by Kansas wheat growers. This group works to secure the future of wheat growth in Kansas through research, education and domestic and international market development. The Kansas Association of Wheat Growers is a member-governed organization responsible for representing wheat growers at a national level by providing grass-roots leadership to the U.S. wheat industry. Together, these two entities work through Kansas Wheat to make sure the importance of wheat is known to not only producers, but consumers and buyers as well.

As the communications intern at Kansas Wheat this summer, I had many daily responsibilities that included updating the computer database for the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, writing press releases on various wheat related issues or events and editing work of other staff members as Kansas Wheat.

I also had a few larger projects that I worked on this summer. From the very start of my internship I was put in charge of making posters, flyers and other forms of publicity for this year’s National Festival of Breads. This baking competition happens every other year and much planning is put into its success, so getting to play a role in this was a great experience. I also did daily harvest reports where I would call around to wheat elevators in Kansas, as well as wheat farmers, to find out the scoop of how their wheat harvest was going. I have previous experience with wheat harvest as I spent many summers working at the elevator in my hometown, so getting to hear from many elevator managers about the progress of harvest in their area was a highlight of this project.

I also had a couple of design projects that were assigned to me during the internship. After the National Festival of Breads was completed, I put together an annual cookbook of the recipes, which was handed out at the State Fair and distributed among nutrition educators around the state. In addition to the cookbook, I was also in charge of putting together the 2011 Kansas Wheat Annual Report. I was challenged with coming up with a fresh design scheme for the report and had fun using techniques I learned from previous experience and my classes at K-State.

During my internship at Kansas Wheat I learned valuable lessons and gained experience that I will use for the rest of my life. The sense of responsibility I was given as an intern helped me the most, as I was given the challenge of meeting deadlines, contacting sources, generating story ideas and being held accountable for my work. I also learned to not be afraid to make mistakes, because in fact that is when you will grow the most.

I have always been a bit reluctant to ask a ton of questions when I’m not sure of what I’m supposed to do. Usually I just try a bunch of different ways until I find something that works for me. But this summer I was faced with deadlines and time constraints that did not allow for this method, so I learned to ask questions and not be afraid of sounding stupid and it turned out to be the best way to show how interested I was in Kansas Wheat as an organization. As soon as I spoke up and voiced my opinion about projects or simple day-to-day tasks, the rest of the staff realized my interest in the success of Kansas Wheat and I was granted more responsibility.