Current employer/job title: Dow AgroSciences, Crop Protection Sales Representative, Southwestern Illinois
The agronomy business is a channel, starting at the bottom with the farmers who buy from dealers, who source product from distribution, who buy product from manufacturers like Dow AgroSciences.
As a crop protection sales rep I call on dealers and retailers in my counties to support their business needs with Dow AgroScience's portfolio. I also manage the business transactions that lead to sales in my territory and service products that have been applied.
I chose to work at this job because of internships. I had three different internships going through school. As a freshman, I interned with FC Co-op, sophomore year I worked for Winfield and saw the distribution angle, and junior year I interned for Dow AgroSciences. I am thankful for all the opportunities I had with these companies and each internship lead me to appreciate some things about each role, as well as learn things I didn't want to do with my life.
Ag Business does a great job of teaching you the basics. You may not understand how it all applies while you’re taking the classes, but some of it does come in handy in the real world. Another thing that prepared me for the real world was being an officer in the Ag Business Club. It taught me how to be accountable. It’s surprising what it will do for your career if you work hard and do what you say you are going to do.
My advice for people wanting a career like this is to get involved and work internships. Getting involved with clubs on campus helps make you a better candidate and internships allow you opportunities to network with people that you want to work for.
Also, take opportunities to travel the world through study abroad, and get outside your comfort zone with different campus organizations like the National Agri-Marketing Association or Agriculture Future of America. It shows good character and the ability to grow and develop both personally and professionally. And finally, be willing to move around for a while. Everybody wants to move home, but that is usually the fastest way to turn away potential companies ― flexibility is key.