Shannon Rauter, senior in agronomy and global resource systems, spent her summer in Mexico City in a Market Analysis position as an intern with the Global Trading Analytics Team of Cargill Agricultural Supply Chain North America.
Shannon is originally from New Jersey and decided to come to Iowa State specifically because of the agronomy program and because she received the Agronomy Academic Fellowship. Shannon toured a variety of land-grant universities and found Iowa State to have the strongest program, most welcoming environment, and the best scholarships.
Since Shannon interned with Cargill at a grain elevator in Ohio in 2018, Cargill helped her find an internship with a good fir that would help fill her international internship requirement.
"My internship took place in an office in Mexico City. The majority of my days were spent in the office working on my independent projects, which included analyzing profitability for meat producers, predicting supply and demand for animal products, researching avian influenza, and researching cage-free egg markets," said Shannon. "The reason Cargill was interested in these things was because they trade large amounts of corn, soybeans, and wheat, and much of that grain is used for animal feed."
By predicting the supply and demand of animal products based on data, Shannon realized that she could also make assumptions about how demand and prices of corn, soybeans, and wheat would also change. Shannon also met with commodity traders and learned about the decisions they were making and discussed her input based on the data she had found.
"My favorite part of my internship by far was the time I spent in Los Mochis in Sinaloa for a crop tour. I learned techniques Cargill agronomists and data scientists use to forecast yield in the field and then had a chance to try these methods out for myself," said Shannon. "I visited a variety of white corn and sorghum fields with a Cargill plant manager and an agronomist and we tried to predict yield a few weeks before harvest by measuring different factors and evaluating the crop quality. "
Shannon explained that she learned a lot about global trade and how commodities flow from one country to another. She also realized factors that influence Iowa agriculture can end up having impacts in other countries with shifting grain markets. During her internship, Shannon also improved her Spanish and data analysis skills.
"A big personal learning was also that I am less interested in the business side of agronomy, and always prefer to be out in the field interacting with farmers and their crops," said Shannon.