Textbooks are great, don’t get me wrong. In fact, if you’re currently participating in one of White Commercial Corporation’s basis trading courses there’s a very good chance that you are also using our textbook The Art of Grain Merchandising. The thing with textbooks is that they aren’t particularly well suited to interacting with you the way your future customer or co-worker will once you enter the field. While you certainly can learn the underlying structures and functions of the grain marketing industry in college, here are four items you need to know that aren’t found in any textbook or class.
1) We are in the relationship business, we just happen to trade grain – You can (and should) become the expert for your regional grain market, but if you can’t interact effectively with others in the marketplace (farmers and end users) you will find that no amount of expertise will make you successful in the long run. Lesson: You merchandise with the people, not the bushels.
As you got older while growing up on a family farm, you might have been itching to leave the farm, so you decided to pursue a degree and find a job off the farm and gain an education. Although at the time it felt right, you might feel like climbing the corporate ladder didn’t seem to quite fit what you were after. There might be a little voice in the back of your head telling you where your true passion lies. Ultimately, your goals are to return to the farm where you grew up and first fell in love with agriculture.
Now hold on… just because you are longing to farm doesn’t mean you can’t and it doesn’t mean getting an education was the wrong choice. Education is absolutely vital to help advance the agricultural industry due to the rapidly changing way of life.
So, let’s develop a plan and start thinking long term! Maybe you decided you want to return to the farm someday, whether it’s family owned or maybe it’s not. But your goal is to farm. Look at some things listed below that you’ll need to do to reach your goal.
Agriculture: there’s a lot to it! There’s so much information and knowledge to be had about the industry that it’s quite impossible for anyone to grasp it, and you may even think that you don’t need to know much about agriculture to work in it. Sure…but at the risk of embarrassing yourself at a networking event or when discussing something about the industry with a coworker, there are some things that should just be common knowledge. AgCareers.com intern Danielle Tucker gathered up these 20 facts that you should know about agriculture if you plan to work in the industry. And if you already know them, enlighten your friends with this crash course in Ag 101!
1. Most corn in the field, known as field corn (or dent corn), is meant for livestock, ethanol production, and other manufactured goods. Sweet corn is the corn that you eat but makes up less than 1% of all the corn grown in the U.S. each year. (Source)
2. Pigs can get sunburned just like humans. (Source)
3. Free range means that chickens have (and this may be limited) access to outdoor spaces. Cage-free means they are not kept in cages but are not required to have outdoor access. (Source)
You are a hardworking and special person who has made the decision to pursue a career path in agriculture to help feed the world and provide for the future generations to come: an ag student! However, this does come with certain side effects that you might have noticed along the way.
Here are 15 things ag students likely know to be true:
1. You most likely leave a trail of dirt behind everywhere you go.
You’re sitting in class and look down at a pile of dirt you just left from your boots, then casually look back up hoping no one pays attention to the floor and the mess you just left. Let’s face it, you leave a crumb trail of dirt and manure wherever you go.
2. You will often go to class hungover from foal/lamb/calf watch, not the bars.
While your friends are out late at the bars, parties, and other social gatherings, you are spending your time in a barn on foal/lamb/calve/etc. watch because of your degree requirements. You might slightly resemble a zombie the next day you walk into class.
By Danielle Tucker, 2017 AgCareers.com Summer Marketing Intern
We all know someone who has developed bad habits from college and you may find that you have developed some as well. Habits can be extremely difficult to break, especially if they have been going on for the last few years. Fortunately, bad habits can be broken and success is not far away. Eliminating bad habits will take discipline and hard work, but it will help you in the long run.
A Bad Attitude.
No one likes a bad, pessimistic attitude. Your attitude affects those around you and influences their attitude as well. In a working environment, you want to spread positive vibes and enthusiasm to your co-workers. It’s important to understand that if you want to make a positive difference in your position, you must change your attitude to positively influence people you work with.
Kyle Neher recently began his career as a mechanical engineer as Lab Activities Engineer for John Deere in Ottumwa, Iowa. Here, he tells a little bit about what his role is like and advice he has for aspiring mechanical engineers.
What made you want to become a mechanical engineer?
As I grew up I was always very good with math and science, and enjoyed problem-solving. This led me to trying to solve problems on the farm in unique ways, and eventually I learned about engineering and decided to get my degree in the engineering field.
What is a day in the life like for you?
My role as a Lab Activities engineer requires me to work with product development teams to design and run tests to collect data that will help determine if a part will hold up to its design life when being operated out in the field. These tests can be done in the plant or can take place in the field.
By Danielle Tucker, 2017 AgCareers.com Marketing Intern
Informational interviews are meetings that job seekers can utilize with employers to find out more information, ask advice, and seek answers. They also allow employers to get to know a potential candidate for a position in the company. Although, it is important to know that this is not a job interview and your goal is to gather information and network rather than finding job openings.
As a job seeker, it can be difficult to get an interview if the employers have several resumes to sort through. Utilizing informational interviews can work to your advantage, however, they can also help a company eliminate you from their pile of papers. To decide whether or not you should pursue an informational interview, examine the pros, cons, and guidelines.
By Annie Storey, Agriculture Future of America
Econ 101 – Check! Principles of Management – Check! Introduction to English Literature – Check!
No matter your degree program, chances are there are key classes the majority of us had to take to receive our diploma. They allow us to build an academic foundation for a successful career. While you may not remember which author wrote which book, that course may have been out of your comfort zone and taught you how to think differently than you were used to.
Your degree signifies academic success, goal setting, achievement and knowledge of a certain discipline. What your degree doesn’t necessarily showcase is the other skills you need to be successful post-graduation.
There is consistency among research that the following five skills are needed in the workplace – and that most college graduates aren’t work-ready in these areas.
By Danielle Tucker, 2017 AgCareers.com Marketing Intern
How long has it been since you’ve used your resume? It could be a few weeks, it could be a few years and a lot has happened in your life between then and now. If you haven’t been consistently updating your resume, you might want to think about a few things before applying to the new job.
1. Contact information
This might be obvious, but there’s a good chance your email has changed and maybe your address as well, especially if you are in college! Make sure that your contact information is updated and you are reachable by the information you give. Be sure to include an appropriate email that you check often. Employers don’t want to see an email that says, “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
As you start your summer internship, have you thought about what to ask your supervisor? Here are five questions to ask during your internship:
1. Can we talk about expectations?
One of the most important questions to ask during your internship: make sure you understand what your supervisor and coworkers expect from you. However, don’t forget about your personal goals as well. One major point of the internship is to make sure you get the most out of it. Use the experience for personal growth. If you ask this early on, it will help everyone establish a good idea of what all the expectations are so you don’t walk away from the internship down the road with it not meeting any of your own goals.
2. What are some areas I can improve on?
There’s a good chance your employer won’t fault you on your strengths, but will probably notice your weaknesses. Ask how you can improve! By asking your supervisor this, you are showing your willingness to learn. Feedback is the best way to figure out how you are doing as an intern. Being a coachable person makes for a great intern. Willingness to listen from the experts and use their advice to better your skills will not only benefit you now, but also later in life.