The Experience of a CCD Intern

The CCD invites all industry partners to speak to our group of interns to provide more information. The program also invites other agriculture entities to speak and takes off-site visits to expose the interns to the wide variety of agriculture companies and how they work together for the industry. Each off-site visit has a different focus, whether it be how a small business builds and executes a business plan, agronomic needs of specialty crops, the impact of agriculture or water usage. Frequently, one speaker will spur additional questions about a sector of the industry, so different speakers are scheduled to provide additional information. The presentations and off-site experiences are driven by what the CCD interns desire to learn more about.
CoBank is a nation-wide agricultural lending company. While listening to the presentation about CoBank, interns learned the impact that lending can have on a cooperative. CCD intern, Coffman Ligget said “I learned about the vital role CoBank plays in supporting rural America. They lend to agricultural, electrical and other cooperatives, which enables rural communities to sustain themselves when commercial lenders would otherwise not extend them the credit they need to continue to operate.” After learning about cooperative lending, interns wanted to know more about how producers receive the funds they need to operate their business. To answer questions about producer lending, Frontier Farm Credit was asked to present. Frontier Farm Credit focused on how they can lend and what products they can lend money for. One thing interns found incredibly interesting was the ag start loans, which lend to young or beginning producers, with a lower interest rate. Interns also learned the five C’s of credit loaning: character, capital, capacity, conditions and collateral.
Another partner company, TMA, spoke to CCD interns about their history and business strategy. TMA is locally owned by six cooperatives and has built an economy of scale to serve producers better. TMA employs grain marketers, grain originators and crop insurance specialists that help manage agriculture risk. CCD interns learned how TMA’s philosophy is different from other grain marketing and crop insurance firms. TMA provides a “farm gate approach” meaning they visit their producers directly on the farm.
To learn more about the research happening at the largest remaining area of unplowed tallgrass prairie in North America, CCD interns visited the Konza Prairie Biological Station. The prairie preserve is owned jointly by The Nature Conservancy and Kansas State University and ran by the biology department at K-State. While visiting the station, CCD interns learned more about how cedar trees influence crops and how rain is collected to test for pH, minerals, and other compounds. The site brings together graduate students from
across the world to work at the station and includes short and long-term research trials.
After visiting the Konza Prairie Biological Station, interns wanted to learn more about the different varieties of agriculture present in Kansas. To learn more about specialty crops, interns visited Liquid Art, a winery in Manhattan. The interns spoke with both owners, David and Danielle Tgtmeier about the agronomics of growing grapes and how it varies from agronomics of cropland. Interns were excited to learn about the process of growing grapes and how they are all harvested. David shared how the industry is Kansas is different from the wine industry in California. Liquid Art provided an opportunity to learn about how the two paired their passion for agriculture with their growing business.