Andrew Davis is an Agribusiness and Applied Economics major and a past member of the college’s Livestock Judging Team. He says a few classes and experiences helped prepare him for his internship with Purina. A personal selling course provided insight into interpersonal communication and taught him to think on his feet. Traveling to some of the biggest and best livestock operations in the country with his judging team provided insight into animal nutrition, herd management and how to talk shop with producers.
Something he discovered they liked to do when he made on average, 30 farm calls per week as a feed sales intern with Purina. Most would start out asking what university he attended. When he mentioned that he was on the livestock judging team, he could see from their reactions that his experience meant he had credibility.
“I would see their faces light up as if they were thinking, hey this kid knows what he is looking at and what he is talking about,” says Davis.
Andrew says that he also discovered that most producers were not going to trust a college student with feeding their entire herd just from the first visit but that it took multiple visits to gain their trust. Something he was able to do after three visits.
“They would ask me to evaluate their livestock and ask what I would change through a feeding program,” says Davis. “I had the confidence to share my ideas and back them up.”
Davis also made farm calls with Purina’s Great Lakes Manager who helped him perfect and refine his approach.
When he wasn’t visiting area farms, Davis created feed product displays and feeding trials, including three 90-day cattle feeding trials with 123 total head of cattle and three 60-day horse feeding trails.
During the final week of his internship he traveled to Minnesota’s Land O’ Lakes headquarters which owns Purina Animal Nutrition, to deliver his wrap-up presentation to Purina’s upper management and 58 fellow interns.
Davis hopes to land a full-time job in the livestock feed industry after graduation and is networking with other livestock judging team members he met across the country.