SUMMER INTERNS: Jacob Sloup

Aurora Cooperative 2 weeks ago

Although it’s really only been about a week and a half here with Aurora Cooperative, I’m finding that there is already a ton that I’ve learned and seen. This summer I will be interning out of the York, Nebraska location working primarily as an agronomy intern, but will also gain some exposure on the sales side as well. Our first week of orientation was filled with tons of information about the company and its many valued members. Meeting with many folks both at the corporate office in Aurora and now at my location for the summer in York have already led to many great connections and no shortage of brains for me to pick and ask questions.

I’m quickly learning about how a cooperative operates and getting an inside look at the strategy and logistics that need to happen to keep things running smoothly. Already in this internship, I’m learning to appreciate the camaraderie and togetherness that’s been shared at both the corporate office in Aurora and my location in York. Aurora Cooperative is very team oriented and has been a great environment to gain exposure and learn in. It’s very evident that the company and its owners, the growers and farmers, have shared objectives and goals to continue on the success that has been established here.

This spring and summer are off to an interesting start to say the least. With historic flooding early this spring and heavy rains that have continued into the early summer, it’s a unique time and opportunity to be an intern in this industry in this part of the world. I’ve been able to play in some mud this summer and get boots on the ground out in fields checking conditions. Some of the scouting and field work I’ve done so far include emergence flag tests on corn and soybean Yield Advantage fields. At each check, we use different color flags to mark newly emerged plants so we can tell how long it took to get all the plants up and out of the ground. Growing Degree Units (GDUs) are tracked with these emergence flag tests and that helps paint the picture of how uniformly a stand is coming up, which is especially important on a year like this. I’ve also been involved with some other field checks that have included stand counts to watch for emergence issues with the cool/cloudy/wet spring and summer we’ve had so far.

I’ve also had the opportunity to ride along on a couple on-farm visits out to growers and meet some of the folks whose fields I’ll be in this summer, which is something I have enjoyed. I hope to be able to spend a little time later this summer with the aerial application team, as that’s always been a business that’s intrigued and amazed me. As part of this summer’s internship, I’ve been interested in gaining some exposure to the communication that goes into building and maintaining customer relationships. I believe that Aurora Cooperative provides me with a great chance to do both these things.

It’s still early on in this summer internship, so there hasn’t been anything too crazy besides the weather to tell about, but each day has already been different and I haven’t known exactly how the day will go when I leave the house in the morning, which is something I’ve enjoyed so far. Already within the first week of being at my location, a few field checks were showing an issue that most of the team hadn’t seen before. While this particular problem has been a bit of a headache, it’s been fun and interesting to work together as a team and brainstorm ideas on what could have caused some of these things we were seeing early on this season. My time here at Aurora Cooperative is off to a great start, and I’ve really enjoyed my internship already. I’m excited to see where this summer takes me and look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work!