John (Gannon) Cook
Major: Agricultural Business
Company/Organization: Bunge North America in McGregor, IA
Title: Commodity Merchandising Intern
Describe your position & duties.
I assisted with buying and selling grain and customer relations with farmers. I also helped with general maintenance for the elevator. The biggest part of my job was helping farmers market their grain so they can get the best prices possible.
What did you like about your internship?
The best part about my job was building good relations with farmers. When I could convince a farmer to come to us over the competition meant a lot to me. I also loved learning about the different markets that go into a river elevator, i.e. futures, CIF, freight. Learning how to balance all of these markets to give a fair price to the farmer while also making money for the company was extremely rewarding this summer.
What are some classes or experiences that helped prepare you for your internship?
One of the best classes I've taken for my internship is ECON 235, which is an introductory commodities class. Knowing the basics behind a cash position and the futures market was extremely helpful at the start of my internship.
Was your internship impacted by Covid-19? How so?
My internship did get cut down by two weeks due to COVID, but other than that I was able to do everything else. I started out my day loading canola trucks, then I went into the office and did a market report for my boss. After that, who knows! I could be answering phone calls from potential sellers (farmers and co-ops mostly), sorting out contracts, talking with other Bunge traders/merchandisers, or doing research. I did research on logistics for our site, different risk management options for farmers to use, or just general market trends. I also went out and helped with dumping trucks or general maintenance when needed. That pretty much sums up a day for me. They really weren’t lying when they said that every day is different!