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Intern Avenue: A Typical Beck’s Internship

Published on Friday, July 27, 2018

While being an intern for Beck’s can mean many things, they all have one thing in common – you are fully integrated into the company and tackling real-world work assignments. This year, there are 23 interns, working in five departments, and spread out amongst six states and five locations. In celebration of #NationalInternDay yesterday, I only saw it fit that I took time to highlight what some of my fellow interns are up to this summer and share their thoughts surrounding their experiences.

Sarah Harden- PFR Intern in Atlanta, IN

Originally from Warsaw, IN, Sarah will be a senior at Purdue University this fall, majoring in Agronomy. A typical day in the life of Sarah begins in the office planning her day, recording data collected from previous days and organizing photos sent in from other PFR sites. For every study that Beck’s PFR conducts, there are a minimum of three photos taken during various stages of the study, Sarah organizes them all! Once the crops have a chance to dry off from the morning dew, she spends the remainder of her day out in PFR plots scouting and collecting data, all while battling the hot and humid Indiana weather. For her intern project, she has been focusing on two studies, the landroller, or induced stress, study and the fungicide and green snap study. In other words, she spends some of her time helping to intentionally run over corn and soybean plants.

When asked what her favorite part of her internship has been thus far, Sarah says that she has really enjoyed traveling with the Beck’s PFR team to conduct BOOST trainings, which are meetings where dealers and seed advisors are taught more about agronomy, products and Practical Farm Research (PFR)®. She was able to see almost all of the other PFR sites because of them!

Her favorite part of being on the Beck’s team this summer has been relationship building. “I have really enjoyed the relationships I have built within Beck’s. I have been able to learn from others, and everyone has been willing to answer any questions I have. I have also been able to work on my own a lot this summer as I scout the PFR plots. This has been a great opportunity to gain work experience and problem solve when others are not around or available to answer a question,” she said.

 

Curious as to why the PFR team is rolling over these soybeans? Check out this PFR report to learn

about the landroller study Sarah is focusing on for her internship project. Photo Credit: Sarah Harden

 

Tanner Burton- Research Intern in El Paso, IL

Hailing from Hoopeston, IL, Tanner is an upcoming senior at Illinois State University where he is double majoring in Agribusiness and Agronomy Management. Each day his tasks vary depending on what part of the growing season the crops are in. He has assisted with planting fields, staking and taking notes, recording stand counts, and tagging fields. Plus, he’s even helped work on equipment and assisted with flying drones through fields. He’s also spent time on his intern project, which is working with cooperators to create an organized spreadsheet for recording all chemical logs for the research team in El Paso. Tanner has really enjoyed travelling with the research team and becoming closer with each of them, as it has allowed him to listen to their experiences and learn from them. He also liked the onboarding process and intern development because he was able to get to know all of the other interns.

He has found the most challenging part of his internship to be expanding his networking group. “I am more of a quiet and laid back person, so I really don’t talk a whole lot. Although since I have started working here at Beck's, I feel that I have improved at this. It’s no longer challenging for me to reach out and talk to people who I usually would not. I am appreciative that this internship has helped me with that,” he shared.

Tanner says the family atmosphere, and culture, has been his favorite part of his internship. “Whether I’m working in El Paso or in Atlanta, everyone has made me feel welcome even though I am only an intern. At many other places, there are people who are just there to do their job, make money, and then go home. I don’t believe this is the case at Beck's; everyone here genuinely cares about each other.”

 

Tanner (L) and Will Ailey (R), the other research intern in El Paso, helped plant test plots. Their

headsets help them communicate when they need to pour seed for the next hybrid into the

planter, which is every 20 feet or so. Photo Credit: Tanner Burton

 

Linnea Stephens- Sales Intern for Ohio

Linnea calls Columbus Grove, OH home and is a junior at The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) studying Agricultural Communication. She frequently meets with current and potential customers to deliver seed, evaluate fields, and discuss how the season is progressing. As the Ohio sales intern, her project is encouraging current and potential customers to visit the London, OH or Atlanta, IN PFR sites and finding new ways to promote these tour opportunities. She has really enjoyed the positive experiences she has had with customers, the family culture of Beck’s, and the willingness of employees to help any of the interns when needed.

She says that the biggest challenge of her experience is simply that an internship is so short. She says that since you only spend a few months as an intern, you’re only able to see glimpses of the company and what happens within customer operations. This can be especially challenging for a sales intern because to be able to truly help a customer within sales, she feels you need experience, and experience takes time.

While she loves that each day is different, she loves the people she works with even more. “One of the most rewarding experiences I have had this summer is being able to work alongside seed advisors throughout the northern Ohio region. I never realized how much a seed advisor can empower not only customers and dealers, but also other seed advisors. I feel extremely fortunate to work with those that I have and for the life lessons they have shared with me in the past few months,” she shared.

 

Linnea is with one of the many groups of farmers she has brought to the London, OH

facility this summer for a facility tour. Photo Credit: Linnea Stephens

 

Clayton Fugate- PFR Intern in Atlanta, IN

Clayton Fugate is from Crawfordsville, IN and he will be a junior at Purdue University in the fall, majoring in Agronomy. For him, there is no typical day in the PFR department. With constant applications being made to multiple studies, various tours rolling through the plots, and an array of equipment that continually needs set-up, he has yet to do the same thing twice during his internship. For his intern project, he has spent time with a few different studies. One is a spinoff of Beck’s 400-bushel plot, where PFR is pushing corn to the max in hopes of achieving serious yield advantages and another is determining which farming systems, in theory, will generate the most ROI. He has also worked on a soil nutrient project, utilizing soil moisture lysimeters and soil probes to compare the difference in soil nutrient content of mobile and immobile nutrients throughout the growing season. He has really enjoyed being part of the tight knit family here at Beck’s, noting that there is not a single day where he doesn’t feel welcomed and included.

The PFR team is no stranger to challenges, and Clayton has certainly seen a few with his projects. “I think the most challenging part of my internship would have to be the problems I’ve faced with my lysimeter project,” he mentions. “This is a brand-new study for PFR, so there has been kinks and quirks I’ve had to work out for the project to run smoothly. But through contacts and resources, I have acquired a better understanding of how the project should work. These challenges have helped me create more relationships and personable skills.”

One of his favorite parts of his internship has been working with ever-evolving farming practices and technologies. “Being on the central Indiana PFR team, I have been fortunate to see some very exciting things involving modern agricultural practices and precision agriculture equipment. The PFR team has also granted me the opportunity to work with dealers and seed advisors at our annual BOOST trainings.”

 

Clayton has spent most of his summer enjoying the landscape of central Indiana.

Photo Credit: Clayton Fugate

 

Brittany Balcerak- Production Intern in Atlanta, IN

From Lowell, IN, Brittany is majoring in Agronomy at Purdue University where she will be a senior this year. As a production intern, she spends most of her days walking through fields of corn and soybeans. She scouts for weeds, diseases, insects, imperfections in planting and has spent time taking stand counts. She has also worked to put up and check bug traps and helped BioNik seed. She has been working on three intern projects. One is analyzing the effect of sulfur on soybeans, another is a pivot audit and the third is testing silicate to corn to see if it improves stalk strength.

For someone who spends their entire day outside, it may come as no surprise that one of the biggest challenges of Brittany’s internship has been the ever-changing weather. While some days it’s extremely hot and humid and can make walking through a field difficult, she says working through those challenges is part of the fun.

She has really enjoyed the variety of tasks she has been involved with and the opportunity to be outside so much. “My favorite part of this internship is getting to take part in the seed production. I enjoy getting to learn different areas and things to watch for depending on the growth stage the crop is in. I’ve also like getting to do so many different things every day and seeing how the products Beck’s sells are actually grown.”

 

This summer, Brittany has witnessed some fascinating thunderstorms roll into central Indiana.

Photo Credit: Brittany Balcerak

 

Cullen Dixon- Research Intern in Henderson, KY

Cullen is from Frackville, Pennsylvania and is a senior studying Plant Science – Plant Genetics and Biotechnology at Penn State University. He is one of the two research interns at the Henderson, KY facility. No two days have quite been the same for him, but the vast majority of what his internship consists of is traveling to the many test plots in the area and taking observations on the varieties being tested at each location. These plots range from a few minutes to three hours away! He was also able to help plant plots and learned how to use the test-plot planter, which plants a different variety every 20 feet.  For his internship project, he is attempting to use UAVs to help facilitate the counting of stand counts to substantially decrease the time and manpower needed to conduct these counts. Currently, this is one of the most time-consuming aspects of working as a researcher, because a large amount of time is spent manually counting emergence. He has thoroughly enjoyed the variety of experiences and has appreciated the research focus of his internship because it really appeals to his interests.

One of the most challenging parts of his internship has been acclimating to the Beck’s product line and the lingo associated with it. Although it may not be extremely important that he completely understands this as an intern, he feels it allows him to gain more from this internship by having a larger appreciation for the number of products in the plots.

Cullen’s favorite part of his internship has been a combination of different facets. “I enjoy working outside and having the opportunity to interact with farmers and other Beck’s employees, like agronomists or higher-level researchers, to make observations on the subjects being tested. I really value instances where I am able to work closely with others who are very knowledgeable about the products and the issues they could potentially face in the field,” he mentioned. “I have also found that the entire team at the Henderson facility has an exceptional rapport and I have enjoyed every day on the job. We all get along splendidly, joke around constantly, and yet accomplish all of our tasks in a timely manner. It makes the days go by really quickly and feel far from laborious.”      

 

Cullen has recorded observations from quite a few plots during his internship. Photo Credit: Cullen Dixon

 

Although we all work for the same company, each one of the interns has had a unique experience this summer. We’ve worked tirelessly on projects, met countless employees, customers and dealers, and learned numerous lessons along the way. Our internships have expanded our knowledge about agriculture and our specific interests, and provided friendships and professional relationships that will last for years to come. While we’ve each had our own experiences this summer, we did learn something similar – there is no such thing as a typical internship at Beck’s.

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Author: Michaela Kramer

Categories: Intern Avenue

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