Why I Chose Agricultural Systems Management
I started my Ohio State experience on Ohio State's Wooster campus, also known at the Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI). I started as a Construction Systems Management (CSM) major, but half way through my freshman year I switched over to Agricultural Systems Management (ASM). I chose to switch to ASM because of my values in agriculture. Being the son of an agriculture teacher at my high school and growing up with livestock, I knew I wanted to stick with ag. ATI was a great experience! The learning atmosphere is great, and the hands-on learning you get is second to none. The professors want you to succeed and have no problem going out of their way to offer a helping hand. I then chose to pursue a bachelor’s degree and finish school at Ohio State’s Columbus campus. Coming to the Columbus campus was a no brainer. Going into college I knew I would finish in Columbus, but I never dreamed of how much I would enjoy my experience here.
Starting into the ASM curriculum has made school fun. Growing up with agriculture I felt I had a pretty good grasp on how everything worked and happened. However, in the ASM courses you roll up your sleeves and really dig into the operations of how agriculture works. One of my favorite classes so far was machinery management with Andrew Mann. In this class we often took the economical approach and were faced with questions like, “will this make me more efficient, earn higher profits, and how big of equipment do I need rather than want?” For example, take a large grain operation and ask the question, “can we benefit from being completely no till or would running bio-fuel in our equipment be beneficial?” A lot of times just looking at the scenarios would seem to be an obvious answer but when we really dug in and evaluated all options, the results weren’t always how they would be expected to be in the eyes of a traditional farmer. I am very happy with my choice to purse an ASM degree and would recommend it to anyone.
My Internship with Consolidated Grain & Barge
This summer I took on my first internship with Consolidated Grain & Barge (CGB) in Aurora, Indiana. I came across CGB at the fall career fair and boy I’m glad I did. Consolidated is primarily a grain handling company, but they have many other branches as well. In Aurora we not only handle grain but also do terminaling. On our grain side we handle non-GMO and generic corn, non-GMO and generic soybeans, as well as winter wheat. With terminaling we handle pig iron, magnesium alloy, grey fuse, fertilizers, and bag sidewalk salt.
I accepted the operations management internship with CGB not knowing a whole lot about how an elevator works. I had a very hands-on experience which allowed me to learn very fast. My first few weeks I got to work out in the facility to see what daily operations happen and how to do them. Some of the things I got to do was dump trucks, deckhand on barges, unload/load barges, grade grain, and operate our PLC system that controls our bin systems.
With CGB, not only did I get to learn how a facility works and see a glimpse of what it takes to run one, but I was also given a project to complete and present at the end of the summer to corporate down in Louisiana. The project is a way to give back for your time with CGB and be able to put your stamp on the company. My project was to take our existing location and do research on going automated. The automation extends from taking a swipe-card system and kiosks to track trucks and their information as they pass through the facility. This information includes weights, grain grades, and the commodity type. The system also allows the dump pit to be able to open/close gates, switch distributors, and bin the load all on its own. This benefits us by speeding up our process of getting trucks through the lot and keeping accurate records on each ticket at each stopping station. Automation will allow us to be more accurate, efficient, and create the opportunity to dump more trucks a day. The things I learned in the machinery management course and the ways we were taught to approach scenarios like this helped tremendously in my project. My experience with CGB, learning about how to run a facility, and how to research new projects will continue to benefit me long after the summer is over. This summer with CGB has been a great experience and I hope one day to come back to Aurora and see the automation system I researched installed.