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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.
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A Summer Full of Responsibility

Xavier G., Summer Intern and Student Ambassador

XavierOne might think of an internship as a position to gain experience. This is true, but it is also much more than that. I have been given the opportunity to take on a great deal of responsibility and make key contributions; all the while, gaining tons of invaluable experience.  In fact, in my current role as a Seeds Process Engineering Intern, I feel much more like a full time engineer.

In Global Engineering it is our responsibility to integrate the latest and greatest technology into our seed production processes in order to provide farmers access to the highest possible quality of seed.  This summer, I have had the opportunity to aid in the implementation of technological advancements into some of our cotton, corn, and sorghum seed production operations.

After having the opportunity to intern at Monsanto’s soybean production site in Stonington, Illinois last summer, I was very excited to learn about the production processes of some of our other seeds.  Within my first couple of days in the office, I hit the ground running with cotton.  I was asked to help do some groundwork on a rather large cotton project.  When complete, this project could have groundbreaking impacts on cotton seed production in the future!

Moving forward, it didn’t take me long to be given the responsibility of managing a small project of my own.  When complete, this project will serve as a step towards fully automated conveying systems above bulk storage in three of our corn production facilities.  This will reduce the risk of human error that could result in a variety of corn getting put in the wrong bin location, which could reduce seed quality – the last thing we want at Monsanto!  Also, this project will offer our seed technicians, which I believe are the heartbeat of Monsanto’s seed production, a much more user-friendly system.

tripper cart
Tripper cart above bulk storage in Waco, NE

During the busy summertime months in engineering, I embraced the opportunity to step in and take on a lot of responsibility as the engineer for a couple of projects at one of our sites in Dumas, Texas.  This site produces intriguing, drought resistant seed that I have had little experience with prior to this summer; sorghum.  Even though rain has been plentiful in Texas this year, in the past, it has been extremely dry. This makes somewhat drought tolerant sorghum an essential seed for us to produce for Texas farmers and farmers in other dry climate areas.

One of the projects in Dumas I am helping facilitate is one of dust control.  This project will include the installation of two, top- of-the-line dust collectors to generate cleaner air in the production site in the effort to continually promote worker health and safety. At Monsanto, safety is always a top priority, so if there is an opportunity to improve the  working environment for employees, it is taken.

old dust collection being disassembled
Old dust collection system being disassembled

The other Dumas project is an equipment upgrade for the small lot production line.  While this line does not run nearly as much seed as the main production line, it is still important that it work efficiently.  A fair amount of the production equipment on this line is outdated, so this project will help bring the site up to Monsanto’s technological standards.

Through my work on these projects, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with co-workers at global headquarters in St. Louis, personnel at the production sites, and several different contractors. I have learned something from each and every one of these people.  I had a fantastic manager last year, and I was lucky enough to have another outstanding one this year; both of which I know I can go to for any questions I may come across.  However, I have come to realize that almost anyone that I come across at Monsanto, whether a seed technician or an engineering group lead, is willing to offer guidance.

In my time here, I have learned so much, and met so many wonderful people. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to complete two internships here, and I look forward to whatever lies ahead of me in my remaining month this summer.

Learn more information on student opportunities at Monsanto:http://www.monsanto.com/students

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