Right from the start, my time at Aurora Cooperative has been a learning experience. We spent the first week at headquarters going through training and learning about the company. People from each division talked about their role in the company and helped us get a feel for what Aurora Cooperative has to offer. Then, I was off to join the animal nutrition team. I am technically located in Grand Island, but I spend most of my time paired up with a different animal nutrition salesperson. While I am with each salesperson, I get to do sales calls and feed deliveries with them as well as see the territory that they cover. This has allowed me to meet customers and see different parts of Nebraska that I am not familiar with, as well as allowing me to never have the same day twice in a row, which is something I really enjoy.
So far, I have learned about the different types of feed that Aurora Cooperative offers. Something unique about them is they can customize feed and put any additives the customer wants into their feed. This creates a product that fits the producer’s needs directly. I have also learned how to make cold calls on potential customers and take hay samples. Some trends I have seen going on so far this summer is that a lot of hay may have been put up when it was too wet, causing issues with the nutrient values. Another potential issue is that many cows are under conditioned because of the harsh winter we had and could possibly have issues with rebreeding. It will be interesting to see how this situation turns out.
I have also gotten the opportunity to go on some educational tours. The animal nutrition sales team got to go up to Belle Fourche, South Dakota and tour the SmartLic mineral tub plant. We were able to see how the tubs were made, as well as talk to their team about different trends in the livestock industry this year. Ward Laboratories was another place I was able to tour. This is where hay and grass samples are sent to determine the nutrient content and to make sure they are safe for livestock to consume. I also had the opportunity to go on a couple of feedlot tours. One of the feedlots I visited uses a steam flaker on their corn. This machine adds steam to corn and then puts it into flake form allowing cattle to have a higher rate of starch digestibility. Something else I thought was interesting was they have technology on their feed trucks which allows them to only feed a certain ration to the pen that it is assigned to. The truck will not dump feed in a bunk it is not supposed to which allows the feedlot managers to be able to have more accurate readings on the consumption rates of pens, as well as reduce the amount of feed wasted.
Something I have really enjoyed about the people at Aurora Coop is they are always willing to explain things and make sure I fully understand what is happening. Everyone is always willing to answer any questions I have, and this creates a positive learning experience. I have had a blast with my internship so far and am excited to see where the rest of the summer takes me.