Solar Sales Internship Provides Experience in Emerging Agriculture Technology

Ben Rodkey (Agribusiness Management; Frankfort) is no stranger to the equipment side of the agriculture industry. Having grown up around his family's equipment sales business, Ben has gained experience in the field at his family's dealership. Looking to diversify his areas of expertise, Ben reached out to the president of Ag Technologies to explore different internship opportunities that involved new and emerging precision ag technologies being used. This summer, Ben was able to secure an internship working in precision ag sales as a solar sales intern. 

As an intern, Ben's primary focus has been on solar sales, which involves marketing their SolarCam product, creating quotes for potential customers and setting up meetings to see if solar will work for them. This requires reaching out to as many people as possible to promote solar options as well as looking into new areas of the market that have client potential. While Ben has primarily been located at the Ag Technologies site in Rochester, Indiana, he still spends some time working at his family's equipment dealership. 

Through this position, Ben has been able to expand his knowledge base in a new area of precision agriculture. Additionally, he has been able to grow professionally. "I feel like I have grown professionally because I am still able to diversify with this position from the ag equipment side. I have been able to see a whole new side of the industry and see the potential of what is to come in the future. I have changed the way I view how the sales side works and have definitely become even more comfortable talking to strangers while trying to create a lasting relationship with potential clients."

One interesting thing that Ben has learned in selling solar has been how beneficial renewable energy can be on an agricultural operation, especially on locations that require a vast amount of power. He was fortunate to be minimally impacted by COVID-19, finding that the only major changes were some cautious customers, and some more eager to buy because of the pandemic. 

Looking back on his experience, Ben would do it all over again and would encourage other students to take the chance to go outside their comfort zone. "I would like to say that any internship experience is definitely worth it and it is always what you make of it. The internship I had last summer and so far this summer have opened my eyes to how diverse the ag industry really is and has helped me understand that there are always new opportunities out there to do something different and figure out what kind of career you want after college!"

Agricultural Economics, 403 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-4191

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