December 13, 2018

Leah Bunkers, seed sales and agronomy intern

Sometimes it takes awhile for the right time to come along for a MaxYield internship, but the opportunity is worth it. Just ask Leah Bunkers.

“I talked to MaxYield about an internship a few years ago but already had another internship lined up,” said Bunkers, 22, a senior at South Dakota State University who is majoring in ag business and precision ag.

People kept telling her about MaxYield, though. She heard more about the company from Todd Meyer, a MaxYield board member from Everly. “I also heard from reliable sources outside the company, including our DEKALB® district sales manager. They told me MaxYield offers really good internships. I valued this unbiased input.”

Q: What inspired you to study agriculture in college?

A: My family owns a full-service, independent elevator, Bunkers Feed and Supply, in Granville, Iowa. My grandpa started this business 57 years ago, and I’ve grown up in agriculture. I work at my family’s business when I’m home.

Q: What have you enjoyed about your MaxYield internship?

A: My goals for this internship were to gain more knowledge about identifying issues in the field, like nutrient deficiencies, insects, weeds and disease. I also want to learn more about crop protection product recommendations.

I was based out of Meservey and Belmond and worked out of the Garner location, too. I helped a lot in the seed warehouse since much of the spring and early summer was so rainy. I got to interact with clients when they picked up seed or we delivered seed to them.

Throughout the summer I also spent more time in the field. I helped collect tissue samples on Monday mornings, plus I’ve scouted fields and have pulled corn nematode samples.

I liked how every Monday afternoon we went to MaxYield’s learning plots at Algona and other locations. Dan Bjorklund, MaxYield’s seed team leader, and other MaxYield team members covered different topics each week. They explained the growth stages of corn and soybeans and talked about what was going on in the field right now. These learning opportunities have been really valuable.

 

Q: How have you benefited by having Cody Ostendorf and Jon Kaduce as your mentors at MaxYield?

A: Cody is like a walking encyclopedia of knowledge. He knows his stuff about agronomy, and he’s good at working with people. Jon is also very knowledgeable. He explains things in a way that’s easy to understand, and he’s very straightforward.

 

Q: What are your career goals after graduation?

A:  I want to stay in the Midwest. I like crops and enjoy the problem-solving aspect of figuring out what’s going on in the field so I can help the client address that challenge. I want a job where I interact with growers, because I’m not as interested in research or operations. My MaxYield internship is helping me get more clarity with my career goals. It’s also helping me decide whether I like working for a big company, a small company or something in between.

Editor’s note: Bunkers and her family enjoy spending time at Okoboji, and she also likes fishing. 

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