About “Beyond the Rows”

Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
[x] close

Growing the Seeds of Opportunity

By Colin C., Student Ambassador and Summer Intern

head shot

This summer has flown by at the Corn Production Plant in Waterman, Illinois, where I have had the opportunity to learn about the different activities inside the plant and outside in the seed production fields. This is my second internship with Monsanto.

The Plant

Throughout the month of June, the warehouses here become filled with the unsold corn seed that is returned from the dealers. When the corn is unloaded off of the truck, it is sorted according to each variety and batch. After sorting, it will be rebagged and tested to ensure we are providing farmers a high quality seed. This process has allowed me to better understand how a warehouse inventory program works.

Also within the month of June, it is the optimal time for maintenance of various pieces of equipment: gravity tables, color sorters, bucket elevators, sizers, cleaners, and treaters that move, clean, sort, and treat the seed to be packaged. This equipment needs to be in perfect condition for harvest, so some of my time has been spent assisting with the maintenance, specifically on the bucket elevators that carry the corn to the top of the tower.

Bucket elevator

The Fields

This is the busiest time of the year in the fields, as it is time to detassel the female corn plants. A detasseling machine goes through the fields first, and then we have hundreds of temporary workers that pull out the remaining tassels.
seed fieldMy responsibilities have included overseeing these detasseling crews and assisting the seed quality supervisor with the field inspectors, to ensure pollination in the field is occurring correctly. In my first opportunity with Monsanto in Iowa, I was a field inspector for one of the growing areas. It was a new experience for me this year to help train the new inspectors in the fields for Waterman. I also have had the opportunity this year to operate the detasseling machines. Safety is of utmost importance  and, as is the case for all Monsanto employees, it is my responsibility to help see that this work is done with that in mind.


Monsanto gives interns the opportunities to tour other business areas, and this summer I toured the Waterman Production Site and the Soybean Plant in Ashton, Illinois. This gave me an opportunity to learn more about various areas of the business.

Monsanto sign

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun!

Soon my internship will conclude, and I will leave here with a sense of pride in how Monsanto’s seed is produced to help farmers feed our world. I look forward to continuing as a student ambassador back on campus, sharing my experience and the cutting-edge innovation in ag production.

Learn more about student opportunities at Monsanto:




Join in the conversation - add a comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *