The Nutrients for Life Foundation – Emily Velisek

Everyone at school thought it was awesome that I would be working in D.C. all summer, but for me it was almost what made me not want to take this internship.

This summer I was lucky enough to work for The Nutrients for Life Foundation (NFL). This is a not-for-profit organization that is within The Fertilizer Institute, which is the lobbyist group for fertilizer.

Since I lived in Maryland my whole life, D.C. was not as exciting to me as other students thought when I told them that is where I would be working for my summer.

I guess I did not realize how long it had actually been since I had made the trip down to D.C.. The first few weeks were great because I had the chance to go walk around during my lunch and remember so much from when I was a kid! By the end though I definitely remembered why I did not enjoy D.C.. A lot of it had to do with the commute, but also with how crowed it gets during the summer.

Anyways, once I realized that, I spent more time in the office. I started my internship on May 18th and ended on August 14th. Those 14 weeks flew by and before I knew it, my summer was over.

I could not be more grateful for this internship and lucky that my neighbor helped me get it. I learned a lot about fertilizer and soil, which is a different side of agriculture than what I am used to. I grew up on an Angus cattle farm and showed cattle all my life, so getting to see a different area of agriculture was great for me and I found it very interesting.

I started my internship off by getting asked if I support fertilizer. Not a typical question you get in an interview for a summer internship but I was happy to answer. I am lucky enough to have family that farms about 4,500 acres and have two uncles that work at one of the largest fertilizer companies in Maryland. So my answer was pretty easy: “Yes, I support fertilizer.”

From there I got a project assigned to me for the International Year of Soils, which just happened to be 2015! I started out by doing a lot of research on soil and learning as much as I could. After that I got to work, starting with writing an article for NFL’s Fall 2015 magazine. Once I finished that, I sent it to two of my superiors to edit. While they were editing that I started to work on a blog post and then a blurb for their newsletter. From that I went on to two of the harder parts of my project, making a Facebook cover photo and a video. The cover photo did not seem to take me too long but the video was a challenge. I got the video finished but it did not turn out exactly how I would have liked it.

Some of my other responsibilities were to clean out the database, which may have been the worst thing ever but I know it really helped them. I also did a few things in Excel for people that work at The Fertilizer Institute, which was nice since I knew how to use Excel and could get those done relatively fast.

Huncovsky Marketing Internship- Shelbi Stous

My internship was with Huncovsky Marketing began in September 2012 at the Kansas State Fair taking backdrop and candid photos at the livestock show. The following month, the company hired me again to shoot photos at the Kansas Junior Livestock Show in Wichita.

Huncovsky Marketing is owned by Quint Huncovsky and located in Manhattan. It’s a small business with 2-3 part time employees, and the office is located out of Quint’s home. Huncovsky Marketing is a full-service marketing firm specializing in agricultural products, mainly livestock. Services include email advertising, print media and digital media. Most business comes from cattle sale catalogs, email blasts, advertisement design, sale photos and sale videos.

My role with Huncovsky Marketing varies depending on what needs to be done. During the winter months when ranches are preparing for sales, I help photograph and video the cattle that will be sold. For example, last winter River Creek Farms hired Quint to take the photos and videos for their sale. Quint and I went to the ranch and set up a picture and video pen to shoot in. Each head of cattle is run through the pen individually. Sometimes my job would be to ensure the cattle calmly walked the fence line and then turn them around when they reach the end, or stop in a certain way that makes them look good for the picture. This sounds boring, but it’s actually a very tiring and difficult job. Sometimes there are 100 head of cattle we have to get through in a day, and not all of them cooperate. (I’ve only had to jump up on the fence twice to avoid being ran over by an upset heifer or bull.) Other times, I get to be behind the video camera and shoot the footage of the cattle. There are many details in taking photos and videos to ensure the cattle look their best so they look attractive to the people interested in purchasing them. After the shooting process, the videos need edited and published. Even if I don’t go out to the ranches to shoot, Quint still gives me the videos to edit. Each animal has an individual YouTube video anywhere between 20 seconds and one minute and 30 seconds and includes the ranch’s logo and the lot number for that specific animal.

For sale catalogs, my main responsibility is gathering pedigree information and EPD’s for the cattle. The ranch provides us registration information for each head, and the breed association website provides the individual information for each animal. Each animal that will be sold in the sale will have its own information in the catalog.

I found out about this internship through a friend who had also done some work for Quint. Because I worked hard at the two shows, he continued to ask me to work for him. I am very glad that I was able to work for Huncovsky Marketing because I discovered that livestock marketing is what I want to do in my future. I would like to work for Quint full-time someday, but right now he is not expanding the business enough to hire someone full-time. He hopes to expand in the next three or four years, but he has mentioned eventually bringing me on the team full-time. Not only did I realize that livestock marketing is what I really enjoy doing, but I gained livestock handling skills also. People may be hard to work with, but at least you can verbally tell them what you need them to do and they (should be able to) understand you. With livestock, you can tell them all you want, but they won’t understand. I’ve gained a lot of patience and understanding with these animals, especially cattle. I also learned valuable customer relation skills. Word of mouth is a strong way to gain business, and ranchers like to talk. For example, it’s great to do business with someone such as taking photos for their sale catalog, but if you can actually attend their sale, it shows that you not only care about your business, but you care about their business too. They probably will be happy and impressed that you attended the sale, and might continue to do business with you in the future and recommend you to other ranchers.

Like any industry, the livestock world has its trends. Some trends fade out, and some last for a very long time. After I started working for Quint, I was exposed more to the livestock world. I even got a job at one of the university’s animal units to gain more experience with cattle. I started to see more and more trends and ideas that people had, and could figure out if others were going to follow. There have been good trends and bad ones, but the good ones are really good, and the people who paved the way are greatly benefiting from it. I have learned to not be scared to lead the way in an industry. We shouldn’t be scared to try new ideas because they might take off and become more popular than anyone would have thought. Of course, it’s always good to think an idea through all the way and develop it fully before just throwing it out there.

Overall, my internship with Huncovsky Marketing has been a wonderful experience. I hope to return to Manhattan in a few years and work for him full-time. As much as I complained about the cold, windy and muddy picture pen, I will really miss going out to ranches to take photos and videos this winter!