2023 Summer Intern: Collin Quandt

Aurora Cooperative 8 months ago

Hey, my name is Collin Quandt, I am an agronomy intern in Central City. I will be going into my senior year this fall at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where I am majoring in Ag Economics. I have also attended Nebraska Wesleyan and studied Business Administration for two years before transferring to UNL last year. I grew up on a farm just north of Grand Island where we grow corn and soybeans as well as have a cow-calf operation. My family’s operation has utilized Aurora Coop’s products, so I have always been familiar with it, but have been able to get a much deeper understanding of the service and culture of the company.

Walking into this internship, I couldn’t have imagined how much there was to learn about what all is done at an agronomy location. There are many moving parts, from meeting and working with customers, learning about chemical uses and guidelines, and keeping the logistics of a plant on track. So, picking up experience with all those factors takes a lot of time and effort to do any job here. So far this summer, some of the most valuable things I have done I would say would be working towards that experience by getting to know some growers, employees of the cooperative, and the culture of Aurora Coop.

One of the great experiences I got was attending the cooperative’s agronomy training in Hastings. Agronomists and interns heard from crop protection and seed reps that are partnered with Aurora about their products that should be used for the rest of the season. We got to hear reports from some executives about the results of the sales so far this year, goals for the future, and plans for specific divisions of the company. Finally, we got to see the Owner’s Acres plots in Hastings where they brought together what the representatives were saying about products and research on the best application of them.

At the Central City location, we are currently wrapping up spraying post on soybeans and scouting customer’s fields for insects and disease. I have spent most of my time helping growers by delivering and picking up chemical, so that they can stay in the field. A big part of making recommendations to growers comes from information in the field, so I have collected tissue samples of corn for our location. Aurora has done this testing throughout the cooperative because it lets us see micro and macronutrient levels in the plant. Helping growers understand what deficiencies the crops have helps to address the issue with treatments in the growing season.

I appreciate this opportunity to build relationships and get hands-on experience in such an expansive industry. I am excited to continue that for the rest of this summer and build on my knowledge of agronomy.