Katie Carnahan 2017-08-30 01:19:25
Purdue University Ag Systems Management, B.S., 2019 Hometown: Paulding, Ohio Enjoys: Fishing, whitewater rafting, and travel Ihave a very serious interest in planters! I am intrigued by the mechanics of getting seed into the ground efficiently. Today’s technologies are redefining what it means to plant crops. They are amazing! I’m passionate about helping growers get their best return on investment. With the best seed placement, the potential to increase yields has never been more attainable. While you’re still an undergrad, travel, if you can, to see ag in action. Check into programs that allow you to study abroad. Even as a freshman, I was able to pack my bags and earn credits during Purdue University’s spring break week. My undergrad trip focused on how sustainability is applied to agriculture in Costa Rica. Throughout the journey, my fellow students and I visited local coffee, cacao, banana, and pineapple farms. We also explored the rainforest and learned about the wide variety of plants and animals that call Costa Rica home. This overseas experience opened my eyes to the diversity of agriculture in another part of the world compared to U.S. production. Costa Rican growers place a high priority on product quality, and they attain that superiority using few inputs that hurt the environment. In particular, they practice permaculture, a holistic approach based on traditional agricultural practices. This system uses natural forces and minimum labor without depleting the land. Costa Rican growers and multinational corporations in the country practice two primary methods of farming: plantation agriculture (as practiced by Dole, Chiquita, Del Monte, and other companies) and sustainable permaculture. Of course, there are also indigenous communities that practice subsistence farming as well. My Central American travel and interest in farm equipment led directly to a summer internship with Helena Chemical Company after my freshman year. As a sales and marketing intern for Helena’s northern business unit, I was assigned to Shelbyville, Indiana. Helena’s internship program is unique in that, immediately upon arriving, you are asked to “take control of the summer” and set your own personal goals. Not surprisingly, this intern’s focus was precision agriculture. As I pursued that goal, I became familiar enough with the technology to make sales calls and teach growers about it. In the future, I want a full-time position that allows me to show growers the profound benefits of new technologies. Landing that dream job means challenging myself to understand decision making from a grower’s perspective. I plan to methodically combine learning and work experience from my internships with coursework, so I can share my knowledge and enthusiasm about new planter technologies.
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