This summer, three students will join R.D. Offutt Farms as agronomy interns through a unique partnership with Syngenta, geared at providing a hands-on learning experience with real farm projects.
Adam Lange is a senior at the University of Minnesota-Crookston (UMC), majoring in agronomy with an emphasis in crop production and a minor in ag business. Lange said he’s excited to learn about potatoes – a new crop to him – during the internship with RDO Farms this summer.
“I grew up on a farm, raising corn and soybeans,” Lange said. “There’s always a problem that needs a solution on the farm and I’m looking forward to learning at RDO this summer.”
He will be working at the RDO Wadena Farm.
Annika Merkens is a senior at South Dakota State University (SDSU), majoring in agronomy and precision agriculture. She is returning to RDO Farms after previously spent three summers scouting potato fields for the company. After spending time on her grandfather’s hobby farm and participating as a chapter and regional officer in Future Farmers of America during high school, Merkens said she’s excited to learn more about irrigation and technology on the farm during her agronomy internship.
“I like the challenge of growing potatoes, solving pest problems and learning about the impact crop inputs have on yield,” Merkens said.
Merkens will be working at the RDO Park Rapids Farm.
Karson Dobmeier is a freshman at North Dakota College of Science (NDSCS), majoring in agronomy and precision agriculture. Dobmeier previously worked as a beet harvester in Wahpeton, ND and as a farm hand at an organic dairy in Waconia, Minn. He is active in the agri-business club at NDSCS. After spending time on his grandparents' farm growing up, Dobmeier said he’s excited to learn more about agriculture and equipment during his internship.
“I’m looking forward to this summer to help me decide what parts of agriculture I like best and which career path to follow,” Dobmeier said.
Dobmeier will be working at the RDO Perham Farm.
Nick David, RDO Midwest Regional Agronomist, said interns will work with the agronomy team and farm and warehouse managers, along with industry experts at Syngenta and university professors who support the potato industry.
“During 8-12 weeks on the farm, our interns will learn about nutritional value and sustainability of the potato, crop development, insect, weed and disease scouting, soil sampling, petiole sampling and social responsibility in agriculture," David said. "Additionally, interns will complete an individual agronomy project as required by each university.”