Merkens was recently hired as an RDO agronomist for the Park Rapids Farm. Previously, she was an agronomy intern in 2022 and spent the three prior summers scouting potato fields for the company.
Upon joining RDO full-time this spring, Merkens also accepted the lead coordinator role for the internship program that she was once a member of. She is hoping to assist the new interns with their own success and is thrilled to be working with them on their summer projects. Merkens said, “I want to make sure the interns have the same positive experiences that I had as an intern.”
Midwest Regional Agronomist Nick David said he is delighted to have Merkens join RDO. “I am very excited that Annika came up through the system and is joining the team full-time. She’s a go-getter, and I am looking forward to continuing to work with her.”
Outside of her agronomy field work, Merkens is also passionate about involving more women in agriculture. She attributes her success to asking “why” questions and challenging herself to continue even when it’s difficult.
“I hope to encourage more girls to consider agriculture and to get involved with Future Farmers of America and 4-H,” Merkens said.
This passion coincides with R.D. Offutt’s first year with all female agronomy interns, whom Merkens will oversee and support throughout the summer. She intends to continue this work by attending career fairs and ensuring better access to agricultural information.
Merkens said her family is also excited for her. “My dad is super proud, and my mom is happy to see how I’ve evolved in ag and taken my passion forward.”