December 16, 2017

Jared Mullinix, soil sampling/crop scouting/feed mill intern

When you’re raised in one of America’s top 10 largest cities, your odds of being exposed to agriculture aren’t great—unless you attend James Madison High School in San Antonio, Texas.

“Although my high school is in the middle of a city with 1.6 million people, we had barns, livestock and a meat processing facility right in the middle of the campus,” said Jared Mullinix, 19, who graduated with a class of 797 students in 2016. “I had the chance to raise show cattle and hogs, participate in FFA and get involved in lots of meat judging contests.”

Mullinix not only became interested in agriculture but, also decided to come to Iowa State University (ISU) to major in ag business and minor in animal science. “Ames has been a great transition between San Antonio and Iowa,” said Mullinix, who is a sophomore at ISU. “I hate the rush of traffic, so I like the slower, calmer pace of things in Iowa and am glad to be at MaxYield.”

Q: What inspired you to study agriculture in college?

A: My parents came from rural parts of Iowa. My mom was from Manchester, Iowa, and my dad was from Prescott, Iowa. They both went to the University of Northern Iowa to become teachers and ended up in Texas. While there are seven high schools in the school district where I grew up, I had the chance to go one that’s considered a magnet school and offers agriculture classes. I had some wonderful instructors who encouraged my interest in agriculture. I always joked with my mom that I was going to go to ISU someday. When I started looking at colleges, it was clear that ISU has one of the top ag programs in the nation.

Q: What have you enjoyed about your MaxYield sampling/crop scouting/feed mill internship?

A: When I came into this internship I had only taken two introductory agronomy classes in high school. Coming to MaxYield has been a whirlwind of new information, which has been great. I want to learn the basics of agronomy so I know what goes into livestock feed. In Texas, farmers grow wheat, sorghum, cotton and oats, so I’m getting a whole new exposure to other types of crop production here in Iowa. I’ve been busy with everything from soil sampling to crop scouting to working at the feed mill, which has been awesome.

We’ve also had training sessions that all the MaxYield agronomists attended so we can learn about new seed technologies. These agronomy sessions have been very helpful. All the hands-on learning experiences here teach so many things you can’t learn in the classroom.

With a MaxYield internship you’ll work hard, you’ll be out in the sun sometimes and you’ll sweat, but you’ll learn so much that you will be very well-positioned to take the next step towards your career goals.

Q: How have you benefited by having Levi Quayle as your mentor at MaxYield?

A: Levi has a lot of energy and is a hard worker who has taught me a lot. I’ve also worked with Eric Malek at MaxYield’s feed mill. The first day I was there we did 5 tons of feed, and the next day we did 70 tons of feed. By my second day at the mill, I was helping develop feed rations, so it was pretty fast paced.

Q: What are your career goals after graduation?

A: My goal is to be an animal nutritionist for hogs or cattle and I’ll work full-time anywhere I can get a job. I think a job in agriculture is a great way to help society.

Editor’s note: Mullinix is a Pittsburgh Steelers football fan, a member of the FarmHouse Fraternity at ISU and a member of ISU’s Meat Judging Team. He brings years of experience, since he judged beef, pork and lamb on his high school’s meat judging team. He received top 10 honors in several contests and ranked seventh in Texas at one point. “When you buy steak—go for a prime cut if you can get it,” Mullinix advised. “You want as much marbling as you can get for the most flavor.”

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