Thursday, July 2, 2015

Jacob Berglund: A Word From an MKC Intern

By Jacob Berglund, TMA intern

Growing up, I was always asked what do you want to be or do when you grow up. Until now, I have always struggled to answer that question. But I now know I want to be in agricultural sales.

I grew up on a farm in Louisburg, Kan., which is about 30 to 45 minutes south of downtown Kansas City. I am currently a junior at Kansas State University majoring in agricultural technology management with a minor in agronomy. My family farm relies mostly on cattle, and right now that’s treating us pretty well. Though the farm is a great place, I decided if I wanted to land my dream job of being a salesperson I was going to need to know how to do more than fix fence and drive a tractor. Luckily, MKC and TMA were generous enough to offer me an internship with them this summer.

So far, this summer has been an interesting one to say the least. I’ve had the opportunity to meet new people, visit many new places and experience many new things while working with TMA. Most days I visit the countryside with field marketers who teach me the ins and outs about grain marketing. I’ve also learned a lot about what it takes to build trust with a customer and how important it is to have a rapport with your customers. As one of the field marketers told me, “Customers need to be able to trust you because you are dealing with their means of support.” Building customer relationships is what TMA and MKC strive to do every day and they will go out of their way to meet the needs of the producer.

As a summer intern we have the opportunity to work on a summer project. I chose to take samples of grain and test them for protein, test weight and moisture. The objective of my project is to gain a better understanding of what the cooperative has in our grain bins. The higher the protein the more money it is worth per bushel. With the help of my mentor Devin Schierling, TMA grain marketing manager, I have completed my testing and I am currently working to get my data on a spreadsheet to send to MKC location managers. So far it has been a great experience and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store for me.

Have a great Fourth of July,
Jacob Berglund

Monday, June 29, 2015

Arissa Moyer: A Word from an MKC Summer Intern

By Arisa Moyer, MKC accounting intern

As MKC strives to share growth and success with their customers, they are also helping young men and women grow their professional careers. Through their internship program, MKC is helping students find their niche in the agricultural industry.

This summer, I am working at the Moundridge office as the accounting intern. I have been interested in agricultural finance since high school, however, I did not realize the job opportunities outside of agricultural lending. The internship program has offered me many opportunities to learn a variety of accounting skills that are applicable in the agricultural workforce. As a senior at Kansas State University, majoring in agribusiness and a minor in leadership studies, this internship is what I needed to help gain insight into the many career options.

As the accounting intern, my goal this summer is to understand and analyze financial accounting and reporting. To accomplish this, I’m working on a company fuel audit and gathering and entering account payable discounts, automated clearing house documentation and W-9 information.  In addition, I have learned how to complete daily tasks of such as keying in accounts payables, printing checks and processing customer payments.
As the summer continues, I will be completing the monthly expense reports for the summer months and distributing monthly manager reports. 

I have also been to various locations to learn how MKC uses the perpetual inventory system. I learned how to help locations keep accurate records of inventory, while catching any billing or product errors. One really has to utilize their problem solving skills to find inventory errors!

Growing up on a cattle ranch north of Emporia, Kan., my agronomic and cooperative system knowledge wasn’t very deep. So in addition to my individual project, I have been able to go to the WinField Answer Plot, tour the MKC Groveland agronomy facilities and learn how farmers are using precision agriculture today. I am looking forward to more experiences to allow me to gain a better understanding of this sector of agriculture.

After the workday is over, I enjoy checking out local restaurants and shops in central Kansas suggested by the administration office staff. It has been fun to explore rural Kansas. Everyone I work with at MKC has been so welcoming and does not mind me asking a lot of questions.  I look forward to what the rest of the summer holds!

Sincerely,
Arissa Moyer

Friday, June 19, 2015

Nathan Lanier: A Word from an MKC Summer Intern

By Nathan Lanier, MKC IT intern

For most of my life I’ve never been too far away from MKC, So when I was looking into internships I thought why not look into a company I’m familiar with. I’m Nathaniel Lanier and have the opportunity to work for MKC as the Information Technology intern this summer.
I grew up in Walton, Kan., just a few miles east of the MKC elevator. I will be starting my fourth year at Fort Hays State University this fall and am majoring in information technology and telecommunications. I love everything in information technology, including broadcasting, basic user support and network architecture. I’m currently pursuing certifications in information security, video production, network routing and switching. I currently have a certification in audio production.

Outside of basic user support and new device setup, my daily tasks are more project based. For instance, I am currently working on deploying the anti-virus software update as we move to the cloud for management, allowing MKC to open up server rack space. Also, I am helping Bill Sroufe, user/computer support specialist for MKC, initialize scales for harvest. This consists of making sure each scale gets the correct database update and has a connection to the TMA office. We also assure the printers are correctly set up. A task I worked on last week was punching down Ethernet jacks in the new offices at Moundridge. 

Another task is visiting locations to service and update specific technology. My first location call was at Lindsborg where their UPS (un-interruptible power supply) was dead and they had an issue with a phone after a company-wide phone update. Some upcoming projects consist of helping with the 50th Annual Stockholders’ Meeting and the migration from Office 2013 to Office 365. I will also be going to the Burns location soon to help rewire the network after their office renovation is complete.

I’m already enjoying everything I’ve been doing even if it doesn’t always work. I’m getting the experience I wanted and the opportunity to work with things you normally wouldn’t at school. I like being able to observe new technologies in my work. My department is really involved and dedicated, but they also like to have fun when they work. I look forward to being more involved in supporting the company throughout the summer, and I appreciate the opportunity to get the experience that I want and need to further my education and future career.

Sincerely,
Nathan Lanier

Friday, June 12, 2015

Cassidy Stimpert: A Word from an MKC Summer Intern

By Cassidy Stimpert, MKC intern

Hey, everyone! My name is Cassidy Stimpert. I will be a junior at Kansas State University this fall and I am interning at the Manhattan location this summer. For a little background on me, I grew up on a farm in Medicine Lodge, Kan. My parents’ operation consists of dry and irrigated farm land, a cow-calf operation, alfalfa, as well as custom swathing and baling. This could keep a person busy enough to make their head spin. Being the last kid at home, for about six years now, my dad wasn’t too happy to hear I wanted to find an internship. I had to explain “ranch hand” isn’t a substantial job to list on your resume if you want to have a job off the farm. Plus, the heat just isn’t my thing! Thankfully, MKC took me under their wing and for only being a week and a half in, man, have I learned a lot!

Recently at the Manhattan location, the counter and scale specialist, Phil, retired and his replacement, Katelin, was hired. Now to make it a little more complicated, Katelin is expecting a little one in the middle of July. This is very exciting for her, but also a little scary for me since I will be taking over her position during her leave. For the past week and a half, I have been learning how to take orders for the feed mill which includes making the rations and then billing those feed orders once they are delivered. Also, I have been learning how to use the accounting software and familiarizing myself with all the different types of feed, fertilizer and merchandise we offer at our location. And let me tell you, there is a lot! Lastly, I have been learning the scale and all the different tickets that come with it. Through all of these responsibilities I have met some great people, heard so many stories, have learned so much and best of all, my fridge is completely stocked with garden veggies and homemade sauerkraut a co-worker brought me!

Sincerely,
Cassidy Stimpert

Monday, June 8, 2015

Shane Eck Graduates KARL Leadership Program

“The Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program helped the Class XII leaders find a way to change their world by building on their integrity, confidence, discipline, professionalism, self-development, global viewpoint & servant ethos. Our newest KARL Graduates now possess a sense to serve and follow, in order to LEAD” stated Al Davis, President of Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership, Inc.   Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership, Inc. during the Power of One Seminar, Manhattan.  “Rural Kansas, the agricultural industry, our state, nation and world need your leadership…now get to work!” 

Shane Eck, Senior Location Manager at MKC's Lindsborg location is among this year's alumni class. 

The KARL Inc board of directors, graduates and donors celebrated the commendation of the 30 newest alumni of the two-year advanced state-wide leadership training experience. The KARL Program is a two-year educational experience offering intensive study, training and travel for emerging leaders in agriculture and rural communities.

“Our new leaders participated in nine in-state seminars.  Study tours over the past two years included a national seminar entitled Blue Chip, which is an executive review of a Fortune 500 corporation’s strategic management processes,hosted by Burlington Northern Sante Fe in Ft Worth, Texas; a tour to Washington DC to study decision making on the federal level and an International Study Tour to South Africa, providing a capstone to the intensive 52 day experienced over a two year period.  

Jack Lindquist, KARL Graduate Program Director, welcomed the new alumni into the KARL GRADUATE PROGRAM, the next step in learning experiences for graduates of the KARL Program. “Now that you have completed the two-year program you are each full members of the KARL Graduate Program, a life-time appointment. As well, graduate spouses, or adult guests are able to participate with you.  The greatest benefits of the KARL Graduate Program are to: 1) support the two year KARL Program to help expand your network 2) provide life-long learning and professional improvement opportunities for your family 3) enhance quality of life experiences through cultural exchange travel opportunities and 4) to greatly enhance network development with other state and international agricultural leadership alumni and networks beyond the KARL family network”, Lindquist summarized. 

To view more information regarding the new class, alumni, the curriculum and program goals visit the web site at www.karlprogram.com.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Katie Rose: A Word from an MKC Summer Intern

By Katie Rose, MKC communications intern

Within the first hour of driving into McPherson, I was greeted with a torrential downpour and a tornado warning. Now, being from Texas and attending Oklahoma State University, I was not unfamiliar to either of these things, but my hope for the summer was it would not be like this storm, scary and overwhelming. Luckily, it has been nothing of the sorts.
As the MKC communications summer intern, I have been met with many fun and exciting projects which I cannot wait to dive further into. From working on blog posts to posting graphics on the MKC Facebook page, it has been nothing but busy and awesome. The first day I spent at the Moundridge office, I was greeted by a welcoming and friendly staff. They have all been incredibly helpful and very willing to lend a hand when needed, especially when it comes to the office printer.
My summer will include a great overview of the role a communications department plays within a cooperative. Some of the writing projects I will be working on this summer include articles and stories for the MKC Connections newsletter, blog posts, and the employee newsletter, which I will be leading for the June and July issues. I will also be expanding my design skill set, and have already been busy creating Flush Flash and Fact Friday graphics. If you happened to see the interns on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter recently, I was the one behind the camera documenting our outings. One responsibility I have not had much experience with but am excited for the opportunity to be involved with is the planning and preparation of the 50th Annual MKC Stockholders’ Meeting in July.
I am excited to be able to work with my mentors Kerry Watson, MKC Director of Communications, and Nichole Gouldie, MKC communications specialist. They both know their stuff and I could not be happier to be under their guidance. I am also very thankful for their patience with all the questions and help thus far.
What I hope to gain from this experience, besides understanding the role a communicator plays, also is to attain a deeper understanding of this sector of agriculture and all the pieces required for it to properly function and thrive. I hope I am able to help MKC as much as they will help shape my future and skills this summer. I am very excited to see what the summer holds and what I will be able to learn from this internship experience.
Sincerely,
Katie Rose
MKC Communications Intern


Friday, May 29, 2015

MKC Welcomes Summer Interns

By Katie Rose, MKC communications intern

Some college students study abroad or go home for the summer. Others attend summer school and some spend their time at an internship gaining experience in their field of study. This summer, 12 students chose the latter and MKC welcomed them on board on May 26.



On their first day at MKC the interns spent time getting orientated with MKC and heard from MKC employees from varying departments including safety, communications, Team Marketing Alliance and were welcomed by President and CEO Dave Christiansen.

The second day of orientation was spent at the Winfield Answer Plot near Inman. Armed with mud boots, the interns gained a basic knowledge of agronomy, which will be a vital part in all of their summer experiences.

Eric Hanson, Winfield agronomist, led a portion of the morning where the interns looked at growth rate of corn, damage from heavy rains and learned about a variety of chemicals to apply to corn and soybean crops. The interns also heard from Holly Thrasher, WinField technical seed manager, who discussed plant population and nitrogen inputs in corn and soybean varieties. Elizabeth Koch, WinField agriculture technology specialist, also shared yield maps and profit projection maps developed by the Winfield R7© Tool.



“The best part of the day was definitely the hands-on parts and getting to look at the effects of different diseases,” said Cassidy Stimpert, Manhattan location summer intern.

The afternoon was spent at the 2015 WinField Agronomy Summer Intern Training in Inman with cooperative interns from across the nation. The program was kicked off with an overview of how a cooperative system operates, examples of cooperatives across the nation and the Seven Basic Cooperative Principles. 
Later, Andy Schmidt, Winfield regional agronomist, walked the students through the basic weed and insect identifications the agronomy interns could potentially see in the field this summer.

The interns were encouraged to download the NutriSolutions© 360 System app developed by WinField, which is a tool used in the field by the agronomy staff to help track tissue samples collected and sent to testing labs. They were also given resource books that will be able to assist them in the field. The interns also had the opportunity to hear from WinField employees who gave tips based off their previous internship experiences.

Koch told the interns to not be afraid of networking and to work hard and play harder. A reoccurring piece of advice for the interns was to not be afraid of trying new things and asking questions. In closing, Brian Townley, WinField agronomy adviser, told the interns this is a great time for them to be in agriculture.

“Hearing how important internships are and how they are the pathway to starting a career was the most impactful from the sessions,” said Taylor Oller, Haven location summer intern.

After the sessions in Inman, all the training participants were invited back to the Answer Plot to receive more hands-on experience in the field. MKC interns were asked to determine the growth stage of corn using the number of collars on the plant and scout fields while also identifying potential problems corn could be facing.

The interns are very excited for the summer and what they can take away from their experience. “I’m looking forward to getting out in the field, and working on equipment of high importance,” said Nathaniel Lanier, MKC information systems intern. “If a scale goes down during harvest I get to help get things working again.”

Be sure to say “hi” if see an MKC intern this summer!