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College Student Gets Taste of Editor's Life

TAGS: USDA
College Student Gets Taste of Editor's Life
Afternoon on the farm helps student see possibilities.

Jessica Pitts wanted to interview me for a class assignment. She is a sophomore studying journalism at St. Mary of the Woods College near Terre Haute. The former FFA and 4-H member is from Sullivan.

The best way to find out what someone does is to do it with them. So I invited her along for two in-field interviews set up by Betsy Bower, agronomist and soil fertility specialist with Ceres Solutions.

NEW EXPERIENCE: Jessica Pitts, right, learns about soil fertility form Betsy Bower, Ceres Solutions.

We traveled along gravel roads and back lanes and into the middle of nowhere near Merom and Graysville in Sullivan County. Betsy and Jessica knew where they were, but not being a native to the area, I was lost. Fortunately Betsy let me follow her out of the wilderness at the end of the day. One of the farmer's joked that his field wasn't at the end of the world, but you could see it from there.

At the first farm, Betsy instructed Pitts about soil fertility, and how farmers apply nutrients through irrigation water to try to get all the nutrients that are need into the plants. At the second farm, I jumped in with Del Unger in one combine. Shortly, Jessica climbed in with Lance, Del's son, in the newer combine with tracks and a MacDon draper head. She got a firsthand look at technology, since his combine is equipped with auto-steer and one of the latest yield monitors from Precision Planting.

Pitts isn't sure yet what she wants to do, but she would like it to be related to agriculture. She would also like to work in media in some capacity. The fact that the college allowed her to get firsthand experience by shadowing someone gave her opportunities to know what the real world is like away from the campus. I left convinced that she learned more about soil fertility and precision farming than she did about being an editor!

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