From connecting with producers to researching legislative priorities, Missouri Soybeans’ interns are offered an immersive experience and an inside look into the fast-paced world of soybeans. Over the course of the summer, I was able to grow and learn many things but much like the soybean farmer, I didn’t find myself behind the computer very often.
As a policy and producer outreach intern, my main responsibilities consisted of working to promote Missouri Soybeans’ policy priorities and educate producers and consumers. And, because no two days were the same, I also assisted with field trips at the Center for Soy Innovation (CFSI), helped organize golf tournaments and made donuts at the Missouri State Fair.
This past summer, we also had the unique opportunity to make two trips to learn about the soybean industry. In June, we traveled to Lansing, Michigan, where we collaborated with other states and identified opportunities to expand outreach and education in Missouri. In mid-July, the American Soybean Association (ASA) held their annual board meetings in Washington, D.C., where we attended sessions and conducted hill visits to speak with legislators about Missouri Soybeans’ political priorities.
As a testament to the value of interning for Missouri Soybeans, Baylee Asbury, director of outreach and education and former soybean intern said, “Serving as a policy intern for Missouri Soybeans provided countless opportunities – internships with other commodity organizations, invaluable connections and integral life experiences – landing me a full-time position with the organization upon graduation.”
In fact, Baylee isn’t the only intern to return to work for Missouri Soybeans. There are currently three full-time staff members that were previously interns, along with Kyle Durham, a Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC) board director.
“If that doesn’t show you how Missouri Soybeans is truly cultivating leaders through internships, I don’t know what will,” said Asbury.
Throughout the summer, interns meet with producers, as well as industry professionals, and gain real-world experience that provides insights into the industry. For example, this summer, I interviewed several farmers about their backgrounds, operations and involvement in agriculture. Through this experience I learned firsthand about different production agriculturalists and was given the ability to have my work showcased through Missouri Soybeans’ communications channels.
“I have witnessed first-hand how the real-world experience that our internships provide can help students solidify exactly how they want to help the agricultural community,” said Casey Wasser, chief operating officer and senior director of policy. “We are helping shape future leaders, researchers and educators.”
During my internship, I connected with each staffer and learned about different positions in the agricultural industry, which gave me a chance to experience various sectors of business and determine my interests for a potential career path. Working for Missouri Soybeans allows interns to see how everything from policy and education to commercialization and market development work together under one organization.
“We have a responsibility to provide opportunities for college students and young adults to better understand and appreciate how farmers are helping farmers – and that’s exactly what we do through the Association and Merchandising Council,” said Wasser. “Our internship program is one of the many important things we do to help prepare the next generation for the challenges that lie ahead.”
As a Missouri Soybeans intern, I have become a stronger individual, team player and agriculturalist because of the staff that invested their time into helping me grow. As I move forward in my collegiate and professional career, I look forward to serving Missouri agriculture and thank Missouri Soybeans staff and farmers for their investment in interns like me.