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2020 SUMMER INTERNS: Mike Kelly

Aurora Cooperative 2 years ago

This summer I have had the privilege of interning with the grain merchandising team at our Sedan location. I just finished my junior year at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in Agribusiness. Growing up in Nebraska, I have always been around the agriculture industry in one way or another. What I soon realized when I started working with Aurora Cooperative is just how diverse and big the industry really is. Being a part of a company with divisions across many disciplines in the industry has been a great learning experience.

Coming into this summer I wasn’t quite sure exactly what to expect, but I was eager to get started. Grain merchandising was completely new to me and something I didn’t know much about. Throughout these past 8 weeks, I have learned more than I thought possible thanks to my mentors Ryan Schroer and Weston Winkers. From simple tasks like getting comfortable talking on the phone with growers, to more complex things like learning the different types of grain marketing strategies and understanding the grain markets, their advice and direction has been invaluable.

Most days, I am talking with producers over the phone about what the grain markets are doing and their plans for marketing their crops. I enjoy this aspect of grain merchandising because you get to build relationships and learn about each farmer’s operation. Finding the right time to sell and what marketing tools to use can make all the difference when it comes to profitability, and I am happy I have been able to play a role in helping our producers get there.

A trend I have noticed throughout the summer is you never know what each day might bring in grain merchandising—especially during this coronavirus pandemic. The grain markets are influenced by many factors and can change in an instant. Last week the USDA released its Quarterly Acreage and Grain Stocks reports. The data in this report showed lower than expected ending stocks and acreage than what was expected. This led to a major rally in corn and soybean prices and the phones began ringing off the hook here. Farmers started to sell more grain and set prices on their existing basis contracts. It was exciting to see how fast things can change with one report.

One thing I am looking forward to in the final month of this summer is getting the opportunity to see other divisions of the company. Being able to spend some days working with the teams in animal nutrition, aerial, and agronomy will be a great learning experience to see how everyone works together to make Aurora Cooperative what it is today.

Working with Aurora Cooperative this summer has been a great experience. I am excited to see where this final month of the program takes me!