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The MKC and TMA Internship Experience

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8/30/2017 1:49:56 PM

On August 3, the 2017 summer interns concluded their internship with MKC and TMA at the intern appreciation dinner. Over the course of the summer they gained many experiences with their mentors, industry tours and projects. The goal of the MKC intern program is to improve interns’ technical skill, expand their view of agriculture and grow the professional skills needed for their career. Interns should expect to add value to MKC and at the same time, have MKC add value to them.

Each intern was assigned to a mentor that specialized in a specific department and are leaders in the company. The interns then worked with their mentors over the summer on tasks or jobs to help them learn more about the services provided to the customers. Each mentor then gave guidance to each intern as they worked through their projects.

The interns took multiple tours including the Producer Ag, LLC Canton Terminal, Countryside Feeds, LLC and Kansas Ethanol. Other experiences included Kansas Department of Agriculture, National Bio and Agro-Defense, Co-op 101, lunch with Land O’ Lakes interns as well as learned the value provided by MKC’s energy, fertilizer and precision agriculture offerings. The interns also received training in professionalism, networking and presentation etiquette.

“Taking the trip to Topeka for the Co-op 101 class was the best trip for me this summer,” said Aaron Bachura, accounting intern. “I grew up in farming and taking grain to the elevators but I had no idea how many things cooperatives had to offer. I enjoyed meeting other interns from different cooperatives and learning how their businesses differ from MKC.”

While several of the interns stated they enjoyed the Co-op 101 trip, Feed Sales Intern Michael McKinney explained he enjoyed the Kansas Ethanol tour as he was incredibly intrigued by the process of how feed tubs could be made from the ethanol by-products.

Although the interns were busy with outside learning opportunities, each of them had a project they were given to work on over the summer. Projects were derived from MKC strategic objectives and addressed a need for the company. Interns then formed a plan and set goals to accomplish that project. Whether it involved writing SOPs, research or spreadsheets, each project had its own importance within the company. After several months of hard work each intern presented in front of 45 employees, board members and special guests to show what they had accomplished over the summer.

“During the summer, I felt MKC added value to me through the activities we had as well as the research and results I found with my project,” said Wes Jennings, scouting intern. “I didn’t see myself fitting into a sales position when I started the summer but as the summer progressed I found that I enjoyed working with farmers.”

New this year to the internship program was the recognition of an overall winner from the intern presentations. The winner of the presentations received a $1,000 scholarship. This year the 2017 summer intern presentation winner was Precision Agriculture Intern Jacob Dailey.

“This summer I had the opportunity to work with some of the most advanced technology production in agriculture,” Dailey said. “Flying drones, taking samples, analyzing data, and tapping into the wealth of information provided by satellites were a few highlights but what I truly enjoyed the most was meeting and working with the people behind the technology. The tech I spent the most time with was Winfield United’s R7 tool, geared to harness satellite imagery to give farmers more data they can employ to make decisions faster, more accurately, and better aligned with their individual goals. I am extremely grateful to Mid Kansas Coop and my mentor, Ross Benisch, for giving me the opportunity and trusting me with some pretty cool toys.”

MKC also had a social media contest this summer. If an intern posted on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and used the hashtag “#mkcintern”, the interns’ name was put into a drawing for a $100 gift card. Each post with this hashtag allowed them another chance to win. This year the winner of the social media contest was scouting intern Keren Duerksen. Keren had a total of 25 posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

“I am a small detailed person and whenever I see little things about agriculture that make a big difference, I jump on the opportunity to share with others,” Duerksen said. “I loved using social media to share in a humorous way what I was learning in the field.”

According to many of the interns, MKC and TMA showed them the benefit of co-ops and how they fit into the agriculture industry. Throughout the internship, they were introduced to many different industry professionals that provided them with opportunities they wouldn’t gain in a classroom including evaluation of their future career option.

“The most enjoyable part about the internship was when a farmer would meet me in the field and I got to hear his concerns,” said Duerksen. “It gave me purpose and specifics on how to better serve him and provide reports that would improve his farm. Through these interactions, I also learned more basic knowledge on how to improve Kansas agriculture, and how farmers make the decisions on their farm.”

“This summer helped me grow as an employee, accountant and person. The internship experience will prove valuable as I go forward and look for a career in agriculture,” Bachura said. “I have expanded my network as I gained friends and built relationships within both companies that I will cherish forever.”