By Mariah Anderson, U of M Senior
Having the opportunity to intern with Land O’Lakes, Inc. was an amazing experience. This past summer, I worked with its crop protection products subsidiary, WinField, in marketing and seed treatments at the Shoreview corporate office. My project consisted of creating a seed treatment handbook, which would serve as a supplementary resource tool for our sales staff and retail accounts in becoming more confident in our product lines as well as the benefits of having seed treatments in order to boost sales. This handbook would also be an informational guide for our growers in choosing the best seed treatment option for their crop.
WinField currently has five seed treatment products for cereals (wheat, barley, oat, rye, and triticale) and two products for soybeans. However, with the current merger with United Suppliers, WinField is expected to eventually grow their product portfolio for seed treatments. This handbook will be a great start to build off of and familiarize our new onboarding members from United Suppliers.
As the summer was winding down and my project was at a standstill in the hands of Studio 2 for design and formatting, I created an interactive tool for both of our product lines in Excel. These spreadsheets for cereals and soybeans both feature the ability to compare detailed information with other competing products in the marketplace in order to assist in choosing the most superior products to purchase, which is where WinField seed treatment products rank.
I was presented with many learning opportunities during my internship this summer. On day one, I decided to set a goal for myself to overcome my fear of networking and to strive to make at least one new connection every day. With my internship complete, I can proudly say that I exceeded my expectations by meeting with over 70 Land O’Lakes employees, as well as many interns and community members through networking events I attended. Having the opportunity to meet with numerous employees in a wide range of positions and sectors within the company gave me a more well-rounded perspective of the company as a whole and allowed me to improve on my professional communication skills. Throughout my internship, I was able to network with employees in Purina, WinField, Dairy Foods, and the new and upcoming Sustain business unit. The advice I was given will no doubt serve as a guiding light in my professional career path.
During the first week of my internship, I had the opportunity to travel with three other interns and my supervisor to Garretson, South Dakota for an Answer Plot educational demonstration. This three-day event consisted of having a first-hand experience of witnessing what is being done in the field through product trials. Several agronomists held demonstrations with WinField products, ranging from the newest plant growth regulator to the latest seed treatment technology. This field trip was a great way to start off the summer by creating relationships with the other interns and getting a better perspective of the products WinField has to offer, which was very helpful for grasping background information that I was to include in the handbook. This experience is depicted in the photo below.
I also had the opportunity to attend many other intern social events as well as take a tour of the WinField research facility in River Falls, Wisconsin. This facility tour gave me an in-depth look at how seeds are treated and the many processes that take place from the treater all the way to the full-grown crop in the field. Key intern socials included a walking and tasting tour of Minneapolis, Countryside Coop tour in Durand, Colle+McVoy agency tour, Twins Game, Escape Minneapolis, Cookie Cart volunteering, and many more.
When reflecting on my overall internship experiences this summer with WinField, I am excited to say that I learned far more than I was expecting. Not only did I become an expert in seed treatment material, but I feel as though I also grew immensely as a professional. Working in a corporate setting is a different atmosphere than school, but you eventually learn the ropes about how to be prepared for meetings as well as what is appropriate in the workplace. It was so helpful to be under the wings of two top quality supervisors and equipped with the resources needed to succeed.
Overall, this internship was a great learning experience, and I could not be more thankful for having the opportunity to be a part of the Land O’Lakes/WinField team.
Pictured here: Interns Mckenzie, Mariah, Laurel and Abbie at the Garretson, South Dakota Answer Plot.