December 16, 2017

Drake Frideres, agronomy sales intern

Although Drake Frideres grew up just one state away from Iowa, the fields and farms of northwest Iowa feel like a whole different world from his hometown of Onalaska, Wisconsin, north of LaCrosse.

“The farming between here and there is so different,” said Frideres, 21, a junior at Iowa State University (ISU) who is majoring in ag studies. “Back home there are a lot of 5-acre fields and land with 30% slopes. Dairy and beef are big in my area.”

Frideres knew a little bit about northern Iowa, however, before starting his MaxYield internship. His father, Steven, had grown up on a farm near Algona. Frideres has appreciated the opportunity to learn more about agronomy in the area where his dad was raised.

When Frideres described his role at MaxYield, he started to say, “Even though I’m just an intern,” before stopping abruptly. “From day one the people at MaxYield have said we’re part of the team, and they mean it,” Frideres said.

Q: What inspired you to study agriculture in college?

A: My dad works in seed sales, so I’ve been going to seed plots and riding in the combine since I was a kid. I knew ISU has one of the top ag programs in the nation. When I went to an ISU football game in 2012 I loved the beauty of the campus. Since I didn’t grow up on a farm but wanted to study agriculture, I thought ag studies was the way to go, since it covers agronomy, animal science and ag business.

Q: What have you enjoyed about your MaxYield agronomy sales internship?

A: I first heard about MaxYield from my uncles, who haul their grain to MaxYield’s Algona location. I was excited about coming here, because this is my first big-time, corporate internship.  I’ve gotten to work with the R7® Tool where I input clients’ hybrids, planting dates and planting populations to develop variable-rate prescriptions. I also go to clients’ fields to check stand counts, do tissue sampling and visit with the growers. My favorite part of the job is talking to the clients and finding ways to help them produce the best yields possible.

The time flies during a MaxYield internship. You aren’t micromanaged and have freedom to plan you schedule to meet deadlines. There are lots of opportunities for training, and the hands-on experience in the field is great. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned. It’s also great that everyone on the MaxYield team, including our mentors, is there for us.

Q: How have you benefited by having Dan Stokes and Steve Schany as your mentors at MaxYield?

A: Dan is an experienced professional who has taught me the importance of building strong relationships with the clients and being proactive. Steve is a good conversationalist who puts people at ease.

Q: What are your career goals after graduation?

A:  I’d like to go into seed sales and am pretty wide open to go where the job opportunities are. I enjoy helping farmers choose the correct seed for their soil types. It’s an exciting business, since there are always new technologies coming along. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Editor’s note: Frideres is a member of ISU’s Ag Business Club. He also developed a lifelong passion for golf starting at age 4 and helps out CBS as a producer’s assistant/spotter at televised golf tournaments like the John Deere Classic. Since age 18, Frideres has helped at PGA Tournaments from Ohio to Tennessee. He is on the course and relays key information that is broadcast, such as “Jordan Spieth is hitting a sand wedge from 130 yards.” “Golf is the biggest mental game I’ve ever played,” Frideres said. “If you have a bad shot, you can’t let it ruin your whole game. Just learn from it and move on.”

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