Friday, April 17, 2015

Burrus was at Pana, Illinois Junior High Career Day

On April 17th, the Pana Junior High hosted at a Career Day!  Students from Pana and Nokomis (my hometown) were able to attend!  I was really excited that I was invited!  Only a few in attendance, in my two sessions, were interested in agriculture or botany, but later found out many were familar with some of the aspects of agriculture within the communty.

First and foremost, I had everyone tell me their name and what they wanted to be when they grew up.  I explained to the students that I was one of the Sales Agronomists for Burrus and Hughes Seed and that I covered Southern Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, Eastern Illinois, and Southern Illinois.  My job is to train growers and staff on all types of pests that affect our footprint. Some of the reasons that I chose this career was because I enjoyed learning about agriculture/FFA in high school, problem solving, and being involved on my family's farm.  I told the students that I had received my Master's degree in order to be qualified for this job.  Other details that were shared was the average salary for a Sales Agronomist as well as "pros and cons" of my job.  Some important areas that we talked about were soils, fertility, integrated pest management (weeds, pests, diseases).  In addition, corn, soybean, and alfalfa production as well as seed production was explained and how I was also involved in evaluating corn hybrids and soybean varieties in the Burrus lineup.

Some key topics that evolved from our discussion:
  • GMO vs. Non GMO - What is a GMO (Genetically Modified Organism)? Why are people so afraid GMO's? Actually, 27% of the Burrus corn sold in Christian and Montgomery Counties in Illinois is Non GMO.  In addition, 29% of the Burrus corn sold in Christian and Montgomery Counties consists of stacked traits or is GMO corn.
  • What is corn used for in the United States? - exporting to other countries, feeding livestock so we can have meat, and our food
  • What is food-grade corn and where is it grown? What are some of the main foods made from food-grade corn? - corn flakes and chips
  • What are the top crops in Illinois? - corn, soybean, pumpkin, and horseradish (not hemp, yet!)
  • Why do farmers grow certain crops? - markets and hopefully, to make money or to feed livestock
  • How can we identify the larvae form of insects? - ex. grubs - hair patterns on their butts (they loved this - sorry parents!)
  • They all remembered seeing yellow soybeans last year - Sudden Death Syndrome of soybean symptoms
Some questions for me from the students:
Do you like working with other people or just by yourself?
Is it hard to be a girl in your occupation?
What's the weed that my grandpa had in his field that is really bad? - waterhemp? Yes, that was it!
Should you leave your fields fallow every 7 years, like it says in the bible?
If I like the Burrus popcorn, how can I buy it? - Everyone got a sample! 

Lastly, when there were no more questions, we played Table Top Twitter to review what we had learned!

Burrus Account Managers:  Christian County (Luke Turner) and Montgomery County (Tim Carmody)

Christian County Burrus Dealers:  Danny Cameron, Paul Rochkes, and Roger Wolf
Montgomery County Burrus Dealers:  Brent Harrison and Tim/Mark Ruschhaupt

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