For several years now, the Mid America CropLife Association has worked with sponsors to provide scholarships to worthy students at the nation’s land grant universities. At this year’s annual meeting in Indianapolis in early September, attendees had the chance to hear from the 2019 recipients regarding their views on such topics as society, their summer internships with ag-oriented companies and organizations, and agriculture in general.
According to Madelyn Heinecke from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, who worked at the BASF Research Farm in Seymour, IL, the best part of her internship was connecting with people. “This helped me learn many new things I didn’t know, and now I realize I have a lot more to learn,” said Heinecke.
Erin Chalupa, from Iowa State University, agreed. “The best part of my internship with Valent USA was I got to meet new people each and every day,” said Chalupa. “Most ag people have really great passions and values.”
According to Adam Kroll from North Dakota State University, who worked as a commodity trading intern with Cargill, this kind of passion for their job was very important, especially this crop year. “In 2019, the grain industry faced a lot of uncertainty,” said Kroll. “With trying to get crops planted and all the trade issues, many customers were facing real challenges that they had to communicate to our team.”
Speaking of communication, Mary Buehler from The Ohio State University believed that this was one area where agriculture needed to make a greater effort, particularly when it comes to talking to consumers. “I think we all need to provide better communications with folks who aren’t in agriculture, because we haven’t been super-stellar at that,” said Buehler. “We need to do a better job of telling consumers why we do what we do and why that’s important to everyone.”
Another student, Rachel Chayer from Colorado State University, agreed with this view, pointing to the public’s concerns about one of the industry’s key herbicides, glyphosate. “Some people claim using glyphosate causes cancer,” said Chayer. “I would like to challenge this view and point out to people why glyphosate is safe and agriculture needs it to help control weeds.”
Devin Koroleski from Michigan State University added he would like to tell the public about all the positives agriculture brings to society. “I always grew up on a farm and I love to talk with people about the pride I feel doing that kind of work,” said Koroleski.