Career program provides students with connections in agribusiness

On Saturday, Nov. 18, MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources students and chaperones disembarked from Columbia for Chicago to kick off the 2017 Agribusiness Career Connection Program. This year students visited Chicago and St. Louis to meet industry professionals and CAFNR alumni from Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and tour Chicago.

Emily Franke, a junior studying biochemistry and music, said she applied for the trip because it listed biochemistry as a major ADM hires.

“I’m not really involved in anything agriculture wise so it’s really great to learn how that side of our world works,” Franke said.

Enjoying dinner at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria in Chicago.

After a seven-hour drive, the group started the trip at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, the creators of Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza. The students then had the option to go back to the hotel, go ice skating, or tour downtown.

Sunday was “Fun Day Sunday.” Everyone departed early to visit one of the Windy City’s most well known attractions Willis Tower, formerly known as Sears Tower. Students rode to the top floor and were able to get pictures from the sky decks looking over Chicago. They also stopped at the Christkindlmarket, Chicago’s outdoor Christmas market that sells German drinks, food, mugs, and ornaments. The Shedd Aquarium was the next stop where they saw an aquatic show and a 4D show, Coastal Predators. Afterward, everyone gathered for dinner at the Rainforest Café.

On Monday, breakfast was served by ADM at their global headquarters in downtown Chicago. Students listened to Mike D’Ambrose, senior vice president and chief human resources officer, and Erik Heggen, president of North America refined oils. The pair spoke about diversity within ADM and being career ready after graduation.

Students discuss commodities, risk taking, networking and other topics with a panel of ADM professionals.

The next stop was in Decatur, Illinois, at ADM’s North American Headquarters where Mizzou alums Wes Uhlmeyer, president of ADM’s Grain Division, and Becca Burns, ADM marketing manager, hosted the group. Students asked a panel a series of questions ranging from commodities to learning to take risks and to networking in the industry. The day ended with dinner at Caleco’s in St. Louis.  

Before heading back to Columbia on Tuesday, the group met with American River Transportation Company, ARTCo, a division of ADM. Students were able to tour a line boat and see first-hand its ability to move up to 42 grain barges up and down the rivers.

Chandler Gruener, a senior studying plant science said his favorite part was touring ARTCo.

Students tour the ARTCO facility in St. Louis.

“You get to see what they actually do instead of them telling you what they do,” Gruener said.

Every year, Agribusiness Career Connection program takes students to experience a company within the industry. The trip is focused on networking and learning about careers in the agriculture industry. Applications are due in the fall and 20-30 students are selected.

For future applicants, Melissa Sanders, a sophomore studying animal science, advises students to, “pack a little, learn a lot about the company and ask a bunch of questions. It will be a lot of fun.”

> Photos courtesy Bryan Garton, CAFNR associate dean of academic programs

KateLynn Ketsenburg

About the Author KateLynn Ketsenburg

Hello, my name is KateLynn and I am a sophomore studying science and agricultural journalism with a minor in animal science at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Since being at Mizzou, I have volunteered at the MU Equine Teaching Facility and was the co-leader of my dorm’s homecoming float committee, which won third place in our division. I have some experience related to the agriculture industry through job shadowing at my local veterinary clinic in Monroe City, Missouri, for five years. Through Corner Post, I hope to gain more experience related to my major.