07 Aug 2020

The Final Adventure

9 states. 8,500 miles. What a summer. It’s hard to believe that my time as an LG Seeds intern has come to a close and I’m wrapping up my final week. I’ve had quite a few highs, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Had you asked me 12 weeks ago how to do a population count or how to write an email through Hubspot, I would have laughed and requested some directions. However, I have grown so much this summer in many different ways – both personally and professionally.

11 weeks ago, I was asked what I thought “We Mean Business” meant. My response was that it is a group of individuals who strive to meet the needs of their customers and do whatever it takes to ensure that their products are top-notch. Although this is still somewhat true, it’s changed just a little. The miles traveled showed me just exactly the kind of people that comprise the LG Seeds brand and they taught me some valuable lessons in each town I visited. So, let’s take a short trip together across the Midwest and discuss some of the lessons I learned.

Donnellson, Iowa: One of the first days I spent in the field with TTAs, interns, and SAMs was a road trip to southeast Iowa. AS I mentioned in my blog that week, I’m somewhat familiar with this area as my family originates from that area. As we were meandering down the backroads along the Des Moines River and Iowa/Missouri line, I quickly came to the realization that when riding with fellow interns, SAMs, TTAs, ASMs, or any other LG Seeds staff, I was in for an adventure, and that continued to ring true as I continued throughout my journey as an intern. This day trip filled with laughter and eating my very first horseshoe taught me something: dealers and customers of LG Seeds are humble people who are here to help their communities grow all while being a part of the agricultural industry.

LuVerne, Iowa: Rachel Kessler (SAM) and I took off from Iowa Falls one morning the week after my adventure in southeast Iowa. We drove straight north to LuVerne, Iowa, where we met with a grower who has corn and soybeans, but also runs quite a few hogs as well. Prior to this, I had spent a day with Dave Hoy and another with Jed Norman, both showing me the importance of meeting the needs of customers. However, after riding around with Rachel Kessler and visiting with the growers in north central Iowa, I came to the conclusion that no matter the circumstance – whether it’s a small issue the field will grow out of or a replant situation – LG Seeds staff cares about their growers and dealers and will do anything to make sure that they have answered every question – large or small.

Pike County, Indiana: While taking a tour through Kentucky and Indiana, I had a very important history lesson led by Jim Jackson and brought to the attention of Heidi Speer (S&A Intern), Olivia Hinkle (Rising STAR Partner intern), and myself. We drove through the majority of Pike County, IN, the poorest county in the state. He shared it was one of the main coal-producing counties with miles and miles of mines underneath the roads we drove along. Within each community that we drove through, he shared stories of growers he knew and their tie to agriculture. Now, I have always known that history is something that we should know. I have and continue to have very fond memories of sitting down for big family dinners and my grandparents sharing stories from the “glory days” of what it used to be like in my hometown. However, as we drove through those small towns in Indiana with Jim, I realized that I needed to soak up the stories told and have some record of them somewhere. Learning history is so important because we are the ones who will continue to pass it on and help build the image of what life was like in the past and what it’s like today.

Randolf, Minnesota: I’m really glad that I decided to take a small leap and keep track of my travels, lessons learned, and experiences along my journey in a journal this summer. I’m very grateful I did that because I wrote a note to myself while spending time in Randolf, Minnesota that I have to share.

I had specific instructions from my first interviewee, Luke Dubbels, a STAR Partner and previous Rising STAR Partner, to meet him at his dad’s truck shop just north of town. We did our howdy and shakes and then I grabbed everything I thought I needed – my camera, tri-pod, phone, and car keys. However, I failed to realize that I needed my set of interview questions and notepad – I ended up leaving them in the car on accident. As we were driving down the road to go to the farm where we were going to do the interview, I realized my mistake and internally started freaking out because I had only a few questions I could think of off the top of my head. Of course, this just had to be my first interview – I may have been just a little bit nervous. Nonetheless, we made it through the interview, and we were able to pull a successful video together. After this incident though, I always made sure I had my interview questions, my notepad, pen, and all my gear that I needed. And it wasn’t just a “oh yup got everything” – no, I double, and triple checked I always had my stuff – especially when packing for a week on the road. Always be prepared.

Saronville, Nebraska: When I reached Saronville, Nebraska, I learned another big lesson about working with growers. Up to this point, I had pretty good luck with setting up interviews. However, the week prior to my trip to South Dakota and Nebraska, I got several rejections from growers due to the holiday weekend and everyone still vacationing the Monday after the 4th of July. My dad came in the house in the midst of my making phone calls and he could see the discouraged look on my face. He asked me what was wrong, and I explained to him that I was having a tough time setting up some interviews. He then shared some wise words with me. He said, “Lauren. You are working with farmers. Calling them is just like getting ahold of me. Sometimes you have to call a couple of times and leave some messages. Have some patience.” So, I took a patience pill. And by golly – it worked. Lesson learned: when you’re frustrated, apply some patience and it will all work out.

The experiences I have had over my time working with this company will never be matched and I am so grateful for every single one of them. If you were to ask me today what WE MEAN BUSINESS means to me, I would tell you that it means each grower, dealer, SAM, TTA, ASM, intern, marketing team member, and all other staff members exhibit honesty, loyalty, and respect with each individual they work with to ensure that all needs are met and strive for excellence.

LG Seeds community, thank you. I appreciate your support throughout my travels and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to share them with you. Although this is our last “Adventures from the Corn Belt,” I know that LG Seeds has adventures coming up that will continue to strengthen the company. I am excited to pursue a career in the agricultural industry and hope to meet even more LG Seeds community members in my future endeavors!