CCD Program Engages With Many Facets of Ag

December 1, 2016
Vineyards-(1).jpgOne of the focuses of the Collegiate Career Development program is broadening agriculture knowledge through unique experiences in facets of agriculture that are different than what interns see every day in work or class.

This fall, CCD interns have visited the vineyards at Highland Community College and heard presentations from Michael Walton with CoBank and Gary Niehues with Purina.

“Understanding of how pieces of the industry play into the larger whole will help identify partnerships and opportunities in the future that might otherwise be unutilized,” Hilary Worcester, coordinator of talent and industry partnerships says.

Highland Community College grows over 5200 vines of grapes and teaches viticulture courses on Saturdays during the fall and spring semesters. While visiting, interns learned the average age of viticulture students is about forty-five.

Cole Leis, TMA intern said the viticulture visit taught him “the difference in large production ag compared to niche market such as the winery. It was interesting seeing the different side of agriculture and how much it relates to large production.”

From learning about niche to large agriculture production, interns continued to expand their agricultural knowledge by hearing from Michael Walton with CoBank. CoBank is a national network of banks and lending associations that provide support for agriculture businesses and producers.

“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 when commercial lenders would otherwise not extend them the credit they need to continue to operate,” Coffman Liggett, Purina intern said.

Throughout the CoBank presentations, interns learned some reasons as to why cooperatives turn to CoBank for financial services. Because CoBank is an agriculture-based company, producers find it is often easier to receive financial support compared to using a regular bank. Scott Cain, intern with WinField, said the CoBank presentation had the largest impact on him.

“My future career will likely focus on agronomy sales and providing retailers and producers inputs and products they need to be successful. Although I won’t be lending money or selling feed, I will be selling inputs to some of the same people that are borrowing money and the more I know about their situation, the better prepared I will be to help the producer be successful,” Cain said.

To further learn about agriculture, Gary Niehues, Purina sales specialist, shared with CCD interns about Land O’Lakes and how Purina has become a part of the brand.

“Gary Niehues spoke about how many different roles Purina and Land O’Lakes have in the food and agriculture industry,” Leis said. “It was interesting to see how Land O’Lakes diversifies to stay profitable, which is especially important in the hard agricultural times.”

One example of that diversity for Land O’Lakes is purchasing the Purina brand in 2001 and starting to produce a multitude of animal feeds. Although always striving to produce high-quality, fresh feed, Purina’s brand has made some changes since it began including varieties of feed and the logo.

“The presentation opened my eyes to challenges of branding and marketing. Purina is a first-hand example of the evolution of a large agriculture company to find the best fit for itself in the marketplace. You have to keep growing and changing,” Worcester said.
Posted: 12/1/2016 7:52:27 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments
Filed under: CCD, intern