Farm management, agricultural banking and finance, commodity marketing, policy analysis – the career opportunities in the agriculture industry are so vast, sometimes learning about all the possibilities can be a challenge. To expose students to career opportunities related to their degrees, The Agribusiness Club at The Ohio State University facilitates an annual trip that allows members to see their degrees at work, while also giving them the opportunity to build relationships with industry partners across the nation.
This past January members traveled South to learn about peanut production and processing, grain exportation, cotton production and ginning and agricultural finance. The group also toured the College of Agriculture at Auburn University.
“The exposure to different aspects of agriculture helped me learn more about the industry as a whole,” said Ryanna Tietje, a junior majoring in Agribusiness and Applied Economics (AAE), who also serves as treasurer of The Agribusiness Club. “The trip allowed me to expand my knowledge within the industry and learn more about how each piece of production agriculture fits together.”
One stop on the tour that made an impression on Tietje was a visit to Burlison Gin Company in Northern Tennessee, a family-run farm raising cotton, corn and soybeans. The Williams family who owns the farm also owns a cotton gin, which services surrounding farmers as well.
“I was able to relate to their family farming operation while learning from them,” Tietje said. “They were very welcoming and explained the process from field to fabric in great detail. The experience opened my eyes to new areas of agriculture.”
Also included on this year’s trip were the below stops and tours:
- National Peanut Board - Atlanta, GA
- Auburn University - Auburn, AL
- Coastal Growers Peanut Shelling - Atmore, AL
- Zen-Noh Grain Corporation - Convent, LA
- International Agri-Center - Memphis, TN
- Farm Credit Mid-America - Louisville, KY
Additional highlights of the trip included learning about peanut harvesting and peanut allergy research funded by the National Peanut Board, and also touring Zen-Noh Grain’s export terminal, where club members saw river barges of grain unloaded and other vessels loaded for shipment to Japan.
“The Agribusiness Club trip gave our members exposure to areas of the industry that many had never experienced before,” said Joel Shoup, a senior majoring in AAE and president of the club. “I believe that this first-hand exposure, along with the chance to meet the wonderful folks working in our industry helps provide a boots-on-the-ground experience that brings classroom knowledge to life.”
Tietje echoed the importance of the trip for club members. “Numerous connections were made in different areas within the industry that will benefit the members as they finish their education and start their jobs,” she said. “Overall, the trip supplemented lessons learned in the classroom, speakers’ presentations at club meetings and experiences in internships and jobs, as it allowed club members to diversify their knowledge within agriculture.”
Accompanying the club on this year’s trip was Stan Thompson, an AEDE emeritus professor and former department chair, along with his wife, Chris.
“These experiences help students apply what they learn in the classroom to a wider variety of situations,” Thompson said. “Students saw that farmers are farmers country-wide, regardless of product. We were impressed by the students’ maturity, planning and problem-solving skills.”