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!