Orginally posted by MaxYield Cooperative on From the Field. Photos by Greg Latza.
It’s funny where life can take you. For instance, Nick Hunt, a soil sampling & crop scouting intern, never planned on completing an internship with a cooperative. In fact, he never planned on pursuing agriculture at all. Hailing from Britt, Iowa, the 2017 West Hancock High School graduate originally planned on exploring a career in engineering, but it just wasn’t the right fit. “I went to Central College in Pella my freshman year for engineering and I didn’t really like that. [After that,] I went to community college [at North Iowa Area Community College]… I took a couple of different ag classes there. I took a soils class and I actually found it interesting so I then I decided to go into agronomy. Now I’m at Iowa State University, majoring in agronomy.”
The agriculture industry is bountiful with opportunities, and Nick found that out the easy way. “As soon as I switched to [major in] agronomy, the people I go to church with and others in the community found out; Britt’s a pretty small town, and when you grow up there everybody knows everybody. They told me that if I wanted to get into agronomy that I should talk to SciMax and MaxYield because they know what they’re doing. I got Rodney [Legleiter]’s number, I called him, and we set up a meeting.”
While at North Iowa Area Community College, Nick worked part time for MaxYield Cooperative. The choice to return to MaxYield for his first summer internship experience was an easy one. “I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do [with my career] yet. One day while Rodney and I were boxing [soil] samples I asked him if MaxYield had any internships. He let me know the deadline was coming up, so I put in my resume and decided to come back for another experience at MaxYield.”
After a pivot in his career, Nick realizes there is a lot he can learn from others in the industry. That’s why spending time with his mentors, Cody Ostendorf (Seed Solutions Specialist, Belmond) and Levi Quayle (Agronomy Specialist, Belmond), is so important to him. “I’ve learned a lot more from talking with them or asking questions as we drive by fields. They’ve told me ‘The stuff you learn here you’re not going to hear about in school. It’s just stuff you have to learn on the job.’ It’s been nice to pick up some of that knowledge.”
“Helpful” is the word that comes to mind when Nick reflects on his MaxYield experience. “I’m new to the area of study [of agriculture], so I’ve learned a lot in the short time I’ve been here this summer. It’s helped me to have an idea of what it would be like if I was an agronomist for a seed company or cooperative [in the future]. The most surprising thing about this internship has definitely been how important it is to [MaxYield] that [interns] have a great learning experience.”
Though it took a few tries, Nick feels like agriculture is the right fit for his future, whether he becomes an agronomist at a seed company or cooperative, or starts farming with his family in southern Iowa after graduation. Wherever he goes, he credits MaxYield Cooperative for helping him get there, suggesting this internship to other students looking to learn more about agronomy. “Everyone [at MaxYield] is helpful- they don’t treat you like an intern, they treat you like [a full-time team member]. It’s a learning experience, not just busy work.”