Posted on July 29, 2016 at 8:58 AM by Iowa Corn
Twelve short weeks ago, I plugged Iowa Corn’s address into my GPS as I started my journey towards my new summer internship. Little did I know where else that GPS would direct me this summer, and the people I would meet at each stop.
During the first week, I spent the majority of my time learning about the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. I was given a crash-course in everything from checkoff dollars to memberships, corn markets to promotions, and communication strategies to events. I got to know the team of staff members here in the office. I sat down with managers in each area of expertise and learned a little bit about their role on staff. From research, to leadership, to policy, and communications, everyone I talked to had the common goal of helping the success of the corn farmer.
My GPS directed me to various farms over the summer as a traveled to visit foreign teams and educational field days. I got the chance to learn from industry professionals from all over the world: meat importers, distributors, and traders from Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan; grain importers and ministry officials from Ukraine; hog producers from Taiwan; and biotechnology risk assessors from Korea. I met Iowan legislators and representatives at the LICA Farm tour, and attended a meeting with Governor Branstad in the middle of a corn field. I have to say, a definite bonus of traveling with Iowa Corn was the unmistakable Corn Jeep I got to drive!
On July 10th, I plugged the Iowa Speedway into my GPS and prepared for the wildest ride of the summer. As a part of the Market Development team, a large part of my summer was spent ensuring the 10th Annual Iowa Corn 300 would go off without a hitch. I got to experience all the work that is put in behind the scenes in order for members and fans alike to celebrate the success of ethanol and the home-grown power it provides. There were plenty of high-speed perks to the job: racing IndyCar drivers and Iowa Corn Presidents in a media day go-kart race, buzzing around the Speedway in my personal golf cart, and streaming the first lap of the Iowa Corn 300 live from a pace car. All of the tedious tasks were worth it once the day arrived and everything fell into place.
As my last day at Iowa Corn approaches, it is essential for me to reflect upon the lessons I learned day-in and day-out at this organization. The most significant example I will take away is the importance of getting involved with the work you are passionate about. The corn farmers who serve on committees and boards, those who attend the roundtable meetings, and even those who use their voice as an ICGA member are involved in an organization that aligns with their passion. I am still in the process of getting an education and finding a career that suits me. The experiences provided through this internship have been influential for my future path and truly helped me narrow down where I want my ‘GPS’ to take me next.
Thanks for a great summer, Iowa Corn!