The Joys of Harvest

Jul 15, 2021

CaitlynMWheat-(1).jpgAs a native of Chicago, Illinois, I did not grow up around agriculture or know exactly what agriculture was. I knew it involved a farmer, some type of machinery, and the growing of crops. However, attending Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences helped me better understand the industry and peeked my desire to one day have a career in agriculture. Chicago Ag Sciences was my first step into studying agricultural education, being that the school offers six pathways for students to explore the many fields of agriculture. By my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted to be an educator, but I did not know to what degree. My high school experience led me to attend the University of Kentucky to pursue a Bachelors's in career and technical education (agricultural education). 

During my time as an undergraduate student, I did not shy away from getting involved. I joined Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS), a professional development organization that helps promote the advancement of members of ethnic/cultural groups underrepresented in agricultural and related sciences. During this time, I served as the freshman representative, liaison, and the Jr. MANRRS Leadership Institute Chair. Being involved in this organization also helped me land a rotational internship with Bayer Crop Science as both a field sales and production intern through the summer of my freshman and sophomore year. In addition, during the pandemic, I was honored to accept a marketing internship with Forage Genetics International, a Land O' Lakes owned company. Interning with Forage Genetics International, though it was a virtual experience, made me desire to pursue a career in marketing. 

Through my continuous involvement and talent, a month after graduation, I was able to join MKC as a year one WinField United Associate. The Winfield United Associate Program is a two-year rotational program that aids in providing young talent the ability to rotate through different roles and expand their knowledge. My track at MKC as an associate has me working to gain a rich and diverse experience in marketing that will further shape the skills and knowledge I need to be successful in my career. I am working directly with Nichole Gouldie, MKC communications and brand manager, in the marketing and communications department. During my time at MKC, my goal is to understand better how to manage and improve communications efforts internally and externally within MKC, familiarize myself with the agriculture technology tools, and understand the role and responsibilities of a strategic account manager. One of my many duties as an associate is to shadow MKC strategic account managers to gather more insight into what is going on in the field. 

I had the opportunity to see our member-owner and a farmer in the Hesston area harvest a WestBred Test Plot with Strategic Account Manager Braidyn Unruh. During this time, I experienced riding in a combine and saw wheat being harvested from beginning to end. I saw this to be a unique experience because you get a view that is one of a kind in the combine. Seeing the combine cut the crop, sweeping the grain towards the center, traveling through the conveyer belt, and separating into the grain tank is an unbelievable experience. One thing I found unique about the combine was the yield monitor and its ability to track moisture. I learned that moisture is a key component in harvesting wheat because you don't want your crop to be too moist or too dry. In addition, I learned the importance of gathering samples from test plots to be taken to the lab for testing with the end goal of ensuring yield potential across varieties. Being that I am not a Kansas native, the land of wheat was intriguing to me. Having the opportunity to experience wheat harvest for the first time in just my first week with MKC was memorable. 

Though harvest time can be a busy time of the year, with only a few weeks under my belt, I already know MKC values member-owners and employees' continuous growth and success. Because of MKC, I was able to gain an amazing experience. As we reflect on this recent wheat harvest, I am certainly one who embarked on harvest joys.