AGEC Students Experience Different Aspects of Commodity Trading, Client Acquisition & Sales, and Operations 

Written by Brooke Schafer
This past summer, three AGEC students, Ryan Benter (Senior; Agribusiness Management; Brownstown, IN), Kayla Fogg (Junior; Agribusiness Management; Rushville, IN), and Jaden Retter (Sophomore; Agricultural Economics – Commodity Marketing; Lynn, IN), experienced different components of commodity marketing through their internship experiences.  
Ryan was an Operations Intern for Consolidated Gran and Barge (CGB), where he was able to travel and work at elevators all throughout the Ohio Valley Region. He was also able to visit their corporate office in Louisiana. His primary role involved working with employees to ensure safe and efficient operations at the elevators. Through this experience, he gained a greater understanding of the grain industry, particularly from grain handling and operations. He learned safety principles, management structure and how to make business decisions, how to grade grain, and how to load trucks, barges, and rail cars. He was also able to learn skills applicable to the industry and created a larger network. In addition, he had a project that he worked on with 4 other interns. They created a barge deckhand competition, which will be used to train future deckhands. This was Ryan’s second summer with CGB and he has enjoyed his experience so much that he will be joining the company fulltime this June as an Operations Trainee in Jeffersonville, IN. He says, “CGB has a company culture that is second to none and has endless opportunities to grow and advance with. They invested in me from start day all the way until the end of my internship. For that, I will always be, “ever grateful, ever true.” 
Kayla experienced the sales side of commodity trading as a Grain Origination Sales Intern for Cargill in Lafayette, IN. Through this role, she was able to gain experience in commodity trading and work with farmers one-on-one to help provide profitable and diversified grain marketing solutions. Her responsibilities entailed prospecting for new customers, educating farmers on their non-GMO programs, and formulating her own market bias. Her favorite part of the internship was gaining knowledge on grain marketing and making connections. She said, “Learning about the agriculture supply chain and market movements was challenging but rewarding for my professional development.” Next summer, she will once again be with Cargill, this time in Kearny, Nebraska where she is looking forward to gaining more experience and knowledge within the grain industry.  
Jaden’s experience was again different from the others in that his internship allowed him to gain experience as a commodity broker. He was an intern for Frontier Futures, a full-service commodity brokerage firm in Cedar Rapids, IA. His daily tasks included analyzing and preparing market commentaries, preparing tailored market plans, giving presentations, and working the order desk. He also took the Series 3 Exam to become a licensed commodity broker with the National Futures Association. He was able to leave the internship with the license and everything he gained from the hands-on market experience. Jaden also had some unique experiences through this summer, such as appearing on a radio talk show, “Ask the Expert,” every few weeks. There they would discuss the market outlook at the time and the services Frontier Futures had to offer. He was also able to travel to their office at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, where he spent the week networking with “giants” in the grain industry and learning about grain trading and merchandising. He was also able to make connections with local farmers and found a family farm to work for on the weekends. This really helped him thrive while being away from his own family farm. Overall, Jaden found this to be a great experience all around and it really helped him grow professionally.