Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons

Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons

Apr 7
Nicole Chance, Sophomore in Agricultural Communications

Grain merchandising isn’t exactly what I have always wanted to do. But after I heard about the Scoular job shadow, I knew that grain merchandising was something that I definitely was interested in learning more about. I love to write. There is nothing that I enjoy more than having the ability to share or tell a story through words. But I also know that I cannot tell a good story if I am not well educated about the industry I want to represent. The Scoular job shadow provided me with this opportunity.

Boarding a private plane to fly to Overland Park, Missouri, was a bit intimidating at first. It was nice to know there were people on the plane with me who seemed to feel the same way at first. After our landing, we drove to the hotel and then to dinner where we met with Scoular employees to talk about what having a career at Scoular is like. It’s interesting to learn about the different dynamics of grain companies. Scoular has three corporate offices located in Minneapolis, Omaha, and Overland Park with approximately 1,200 employees. Compared to Cargill or ADM, this is a smaller company, but it was so neat to hear people say they knew the CEO or the Vice President of their company on a first-name basis.

The next day we had the opportunity to visit the corporate office at Overland Park, as well as tour an elevator in Adriane, Missouri. We shadowed merchandisers to learn how they handle buying and selling grain via rail, freight, etc.  It was interesting to see how they must solve problems and communicate with customers on a daily basis. For instance, they may have to deal with a load of grain getting rejected at an elevator or a late or early arrival of a rail car. Problem-solving skills are necessary in this profession as problems must be handled quickly and properly.

This experience taught me more than just how to buy and sell grain. It taught me about the diversity and the complexity of the agriculture industry. There are both smaller and larger businesses contributing to the production, processing, and the distribution of what is grown across the globe on a daily basis. Having the ability to see what one part of such a vast and complex industry does really teaches you a lot.

Don’t be afraid of the ability to step out of your comfort zone and learn something new. You may not have the same amount of experience that others ahead of you do, but don’t hesitate to ask questions to get it right. Experience and communication is key in a complex industry like agriculture, and gaining a deeper understanding for what you want to talk about is beneficial to you and the industry you represent.