Hello all; my name is Danielle Hagemann. Last fall I completed two days at Eastland Feed and Grain in Monroe, WI; however, this spring I have planned to be hosted by Bocker Ruff Grain in Polo, IL, under the direction of Paul Behrends. Due to the current pandemic, these plans have been pushed back, to maintain the health and safety of all individuals involved.
COVID-19 has inadvertently turned our world upside down. As members of the agriculture community, we can all agree that upon the completion of 2019 we were praying for an easier 2020. While our wishes don’t seem to be granted, our industry as a whole continues to place food on the bare grocery store shelves, and contribute philanthropically during even the most adverse times. Whether it’s farmers donating their unused N95 masks to health care workers and first responders, or companies including GROWMARK donating grain to food banks in need, we have all stepped up in this time of need.
Farming is never canceled. As agriculturists, some of our best work is done in trying times, and we continue to provide for our population in the most difficult situations. I would like to personally say thank you to all of those involved in every aspect of agriculture. I hope that after the world has returned to normal, everyone will continue to respect and appreciate the American farmer.
Since the Summer Kickoff Tour, I have been able to work several days at Sublette Farmers Elevator. Here I have been able to perform a variety of jobs and learn about the daily tasks of multiple employees. Starting my workdays in November, I was able to be included in what goes on during harvest at the elevator. Some responsibilities included riding along with semi drivers to pick up loads of corn from a local farmer’s field and dumping semi’s when they got to the elevator. I also was able to learn about how things don’t always run as smoothly as you’d like during this busy time of the year. On the first of my workdays, I was included in helping fix buckets on a belt that broke from wear and tear of continuously moving grain. Although things don’t always run perfectly, I learned the importance of having a good team behind the elevator manager to get things running back on track in a fast and efficient way.
During my workdays in Sublette, I was not only able to learn more about the elevator business but also gain a network of individuals. Although Sublette is my hometown elevator, I was surprised by the number of individuals I had not met that worked there. From part-time employees to scale operators, I was able to meet the entire team that helps Sublette Farmers Elevator be successful. On the third workday, I even got to go to a barge loading facility on the Illinois River and meet individuals there and see their operation.
Overall, I enjoyed my experience working at Sublette Farmers Elevator. I feel that I have obtained an excellent overview of the operations that take place at the facility daily. I look forward to eventually using the knowledge I have acquired in my career one day. Thank you to the management and staff at Sublette Farmers Elevator for a great learning experience.
Last August scholarship recipients went to several different grain and feed elevators or processors in southern Illinois. The companies we toured varied in the way that they handled grain. There were grain elevators, milling/processing plants, and merchandising companies, among others. At each location we were given a tour of their facilities and the function of each different part. We also got to learn about the challenges grain companies have to overcome, whether it be inconvenient weather, competition from other companies, or daily challenges within their own facility. In addition to this, we also gained career advice at most of the locations whether it regarded our future endeavors or the paths of the speakers at each location. Also, the speakers allowed us to gain insight on what it would be like to work for their company. The company representatives shared very insightful information on not only their career but also when giving advice or answers to questions we had. Overall, this was a very beneficial experience and a great way to learn more about the grain industry.
The two days I spent at Tuscola ADM in February were just as great as they were in December. I could not be more thankful for them giving me the opportunity to watch trains being loaded and traders serving our local farmers. Thank you so much Tuscola ADM for giving me this opportunity. Jeff and Jodie words can’t describe how thankful I am for being a part of GFAI. Kenny Hadden and Todd Wiessing were always there to teach and answer any questions I had for them.
Hello again, all! My name is Olivia Kepner and I am currently a Junior studying Animal Science at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Last weekend, I had the privilege to attend the Grain and Feed Association Convention & Expo where fellow scholarship recipients and myself were presented with a few incredible opportunities. The night before the convention, we were able to mingle and speak with vendors at the expo. This provided a great opportunity to build our networking platform and speak with professionals within the industry. It was a great opportunity for scholarship recipients to catch up with our peers that we spent a few days with this past summer during the Immersion Kickoff Tour. I’m looking forward to a great semester at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and connecting again with my Industry Partner: Eastland Feed and Grain. This entire scholarship experience has opened my eyes to a wide variety of opportunities within the grain & feed industry. I cannot thank GFAI enough for this opportunity.
This semester, I have the opportunity to intern with the policy team at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) in Arlington, VA. Having completed about a third of the internship (six weeks), it’s fair to say it has been a great experience thus far. NASDA’s policy committees and executive committee is made up of directors, secretaries, and commissioners of agriculture at the state level. Having the wide, diverse landscape of the United States represented through these members as a resource, NASDA is able to make informed and intelligent proposals to federal officials when advocating for U.S. farmers and ranchers. Through my work with the policy team at NASDA, I have researched and sat in on hearings related to hemp, trade enforcement, and rural broadband. Through this, I have not only furthered my knowledge in these areas of interest, but also the legislative and regulatory processes. Additionally, the opportunity to meet our members and their staff at our upcoming winter policy conference is something that is sure to provide me expansive knowledge into the agriculture industry outside of the midwestern region that I am most familiar with. Overall, the internship has provided a means for me to grow professionally through relationships, and academically and intellectually through research processes and policy strategies.
Through the Grain and Feed Scholarship I was given the opportunity to work at a host facility for two days in each semester after receiving the scholarship. Due to location and its exceptional reputation, I chose to work at Prairie Central Cooperative. Thus far, I have only worked two days. Both days were valued learning experiences in their own way. My first day consisted of gathering some insight to the logistics of the company and their day to day struggle throughout the odd harvest. They allowed me to operate the scale and probe for some time. For the remainder of the day a fellow scholarship recipient and I were educated on how Prairie Central hedges grain and analyzes the market.
On our second day, we were sent to Prairie Central’s new facility in Chenoa. They have every right to be proud of this facility. I was in awe by how efficient and well executed the facility was. Some of our tasks included babysitting a dryer and recalibrating it throughout the day, dumping trucks, and operating the scale. With it being a slow day, we took a tour and discussed some of the issues the harvest presented. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to work with this company even if it was only a few days. For that, I would like to thank the Grain and Feed Association and Prairie Central Cooperative.