I am currently on my third internship in the agricultural industry and am continuously learning more and more every day on the job. If there’s one realization that I have came to this summer through my grain sales internship with Cargill it is these three things are crucial in our industry: patience, connection and repetition.
This past week, I met with an older grower who is not very advanced in technology. It has taken us a couple shots to get a time that worked to meet for both of us and we finally found a time. At the beginning of the appointment he wasn’t too keen on learning more about the website.
Cargill Ag is our online platform for growers to manage their account with Cargill. They are able to view contracts, settlements, scale tickets and more, that pertain to their specific account. It is truly a great tool to assist growers in managing their risk.
I began the appointment by asking how the grower currently managed his account with Cargill. He simply replied, “Well, I call-in and talk to my farm marketer. That’s pretty much it and it works.” I followed his response by asking what he enjoyed through his management process and if there was anything he wish he had the ability to do.
Other than responding with the opportunity to sell $6 corn, his answers made a great segue into the presentation, however, I wanted to know more about what he was thinking. I continued asking questions pertaining to getting his contracts signed and turned in, how his management practices work during harvest, amongst others. After waiting patiently for the answers I was seeking, we began looking through the website.
The deeper we went into the presentation the more questions he began to ask. He was curious. He began wanting to learn, not being forced to. He slowly started to see the benefits in a new way to manage his account.
He had various questions on his current contracts and his account in general. While being able to answer those in confidence, he began becoming more relaxed.
After I walked him through the website on my iPad. We were able to set up his account and save his log-in credentials on his smart phone so that he didn’t have to worry about continuously typing them in each time he wanted to log on. At this point, the appointment changed directions and we made a connection as he realized I was able to make a difference in his management practices.
I ended the appointment by asking what other questions he had, knowing fully that he was going to have some and was hoping to walk through some of the features again to ensure he would remember. He asked, “Can you show me how you found that old contract again?” Repetition. I was glad he asked and was thrilled to show him again how to work through parts of the website he wasn’t clear on.
I can say with confidence that when I left this grower, he was glad he took the time to learn. I was thanked for my time and for the help I offered. It was easily one of the best, one of my favorite and one of the longest appointments I had so far this summer. Every minute was worth it knowing that I truly made a long term impact on how he managed his operation.
In June, I listened to California Secretary of Agriculture and she explained to a room full of young agriculturalists that, “People won’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
I’ve been pondering on that statement since our acquaintance and after this appointment with the grower, I can truly see the value in those words. I hope that in all of my further appointments and encounters even outside my internship I’m able to be vulnerable and show how deeply I care about our industry and the success of those at the core of our industry.