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College Experiences Lead to Ag Job Market

College Experiences Lead to Ag Job Market
Purdue student turns internships into learning experience and lands job in ag equipment field.

By Susan Goley and Tom J. Bechman

Tyler Nannet was intimidated with his first shot at interning with John Deere. He realized he wasn't ready for the atmosphere at a large company.

The Illinois student who is now a senior at Purdue University in ag systems management came back a second time to interview at John Deere. That was after getting more experience in internship situations. He found internships were an important part of his college experience.

Related: Small-company Internships Can Lead to Big Opportunities

Ready to work: Tyler Nannet never expected to find himself at a John Deere hay day working for the company when he entered Purdue. He will soon work for John Deere full time.

After his second interview with John Deere, he landed a summer internship. Nannet now looks at his internship with John Deere as the most rewarding, and has accepted a full time position with the company.

"What I would suggest to other students is don't do the same thing," Nannet said. "Do something different. You have three shots at internships. Try to do something different. Because I've learned something at each internship, I've liked something at each internship and I've not liked something at each internship."

The three shots at internships Nannet mentions are after the summers of his first three years at college. Officials say Purdue is one of the leading universities at bringing in ag companies for job fairs in both the fall and spring. Some employers come looking for employees ready to graduate. Others are looking for interns. If the internship works out well, it may lead to employment once the student graduates.

Nannet's experiences are valuable because it illustrates that a young person can find employment in ag before returning to the home farm, even if that's their long-term goal. Many farm families have set a rule for themselves that before a son or daughter can return to the farm, they need experience working for someone else, either in industry or for another farm operation. The length of time required to be in another position varies.

Steve and Phyllis Hess, Bushnell, Ill., dairy farmers and columnists for Young Farmer Forum in Indiana Prairie Farmer, require their children to work off the farm five years before coming back. They believe the process helps their children decide if they really want to farm, and makes them more rounded and a better employee and/or partner when they return to the farm.

(Goley is a senior in Purdue University ag communications.)

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