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.
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Learning the Ways in Which Farming is Unique in each State

By Ashley S., Row Crops Sales Intern and Student Ambassador

7.21.16 Ashley Smeby

North Dakota is the land of the Red River Valley, where fields are filled with corn, soybeans, wheat, sugarbeets and sunflowers! It’s where I am working for Monsanto as a U.S. Row Crop Sales Intern with ASGROW® and DEKALB® Brands this summer. Originally from Iowa, I am studying Agronomy and Animal Science at Iowa State University. I grew up on a family farm where I was surrounded by agriculture; it was there that I first found a love for the industry.

This is my second internship with the U.S. Row Crops program; last year I spent my summer working with ASGROW and DEKALB in Nebraska. During that internship, I met with farmers and took a close-up look at the agricultural differences between Iowa and Nebraska. Growing up in northern Iowa, we typically didn’t have to worry much about irrigation, with rainfall averaging 34 inches per year; Iowa is known for its rich soil and organic matter. In Nebraska, rainfall is low and filters through the sandy soils very quickly. As a result, many cropland acres are irrigated under an irrigation pivot. In Iowa, most of the acres grow corn and soybeans, but in Nebraska, wheat is also frequently planted. After enjoying my experience in Nebraska, I decided that I wanted to spend the next summer meeting farmers and learning about agricultural challenges in another area of the United States.

7.21.16 Ashley Asgrow Soybeans
So here I am in North Dakota! Since May, I have worked with some of our ASGROW and DEKALB seed retailers and farmers taking field stand counts, observing insect and disease pressures, and confirming that farmers are satisfied with the product that they planted in their fields. I also toured a soybean production facility and attended farmer field training days. Working with both retailers and farmers has enabled me to learn a lot about the North Dakota area—I’ve even learned about crops such as sunflowers and sugarbeets that are very popular in the Red River Valley region.  I have also enjoyed opportunities to ask farmers about challenges they face, and to discuss how they combat them by choosing the best seed to plant on their farm.

7.21.16 Ashley Soybeans 2Throughout the summer, I’ve gained exposure to many different sides of the business. I worked with a Technical Agronomist and Chemistry Representative to learn more about the Climate Fieldview™ platform, and I spent time with a Channel® Seed Brand District Salesman. The Technical Agronomist helped me to better understand some of the agronomic concerns of North Dakota farmers, including the challenges of managing high pH soil. I also learned about new features of the Climate Fieldview platform and how it is used to help growers track planting and yield information, providing real time data for decision making—all in one app.

I’m often asked what it’s like to be a woman working in an industry that is traditionally dominated by men. Having been raised in agriculture, I have always known that I would likely be one of the few women working in agronomy—although the numbers of women in ag are growing. The demand for women with a passion for agriculture is high, and there are more opportunities than ever before.

I truly enjoy working with farmers in the seed industry, and I look forward to what the future holds as I prepare to graduate from Iowa State next spring.

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