My name is Olivia Kepner, and I grew up in NW Illinois on my family’s farrow to finish hog farm. I attended Highland Community College where I graduated in 2018 with my Associate of Science degree. Directly after graduation, I transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville where I majored in Animal Science with a double minor in English and Strategic Marketing & Visual Communications. Since graduation from there in December 2020, I’ve been working at our local cooperative, Pearl City Elevator, Inc. While here, I have been working within their Marketing & Communications department. Quite a few of my projects involve highlighting our Employee Anniversaries on our social media platforms, welcoming new employees, assisting in video filming & editing, photographing our employees and landscapes, as well as interviewing and writing our Women in Agriculture series that is on our webpage. A number of these projects have allowed me to work hand in hand with our grain team. I’ve participated in numerous filming opportunities to capture grain updates, share our average price contract options with our producers, and give large market reports. I led our participation in Grain Safety Week and spread awareness through our social media platforms. At the beginning of the year, I was also an integral part in filming a video series that highlighted a feed salesman and her expertise in diary nutrition on farm. Through these experiences, I have been able to work closely with our grain team this year and am looking forward to continuing my education this fall at UW-Madison in my graduate program where I will be studying Environment & Resources.
My name is Taylor Hartke and I recently completed my junior year at Southern Illinois University majoring in Agricultural Communications and minoring in Agribusiness Economics. I was blessed to be named as a 2020 Grain and Feed Association of Illinois scholarship recipient. I have greatly appreciated the investment GFAI has made to provide myself as well as my fellow scholarship recipients to learn about the diversity of the industry. It started this summer on the immersion tour and it has expanded throughout their convention and the job shadow experiences.
Throughout my experience, I have been paired with Total Grain Marketing at their corporate headquarters in Effingham, Illinois. This semester, I interned on Friday, May 14th, as well as Wednesday, May 19th. TGM is a full-service grain company that offers grain marketing options to meet the demands of agriculturalists and consumers. It was established in 2006 between Effingham-Clay Service Company, Growmark, Inc., and Wabash Service Company. TGM operates a total of 41 elevators; 9 of which are MID-CO branch offices with a total of 11 licensed brokers to provide market insights to agriculturalists. 8 of their 41 locations are operating on rail facilities on the CN, CSX, WATCO, INRD, and UP railroads. They combined have the ability to hold 375 cars with the potential to load out over 1.3 million bushels per day. These rail facilities help ship grain to the southern poultry market, Gulf region, and to Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, and New York. Collectively, TGM’s facilities have been buying grain since the mid 1940’s, and is now one of the largest non-multinational grain companies.
During my two days, I helped complete a variety of tasks which needed to be done. Throughout these two days there were a few staff meetings as well as trainings, therefore, I served as a receptionist answering phone calls to transfer to the respective individuals or I took a message. I also utilized my time to add in hundreds of orders into the Midco Order Report spreadsheet for part of the month of March, all of April, and until the current date in May. This task included recording the order sheet number, account number, whether it was a buy or sell order, the description of what was being traded, the price, and the date. This was the largest project due to the high volume of orders which run throughout Total Grain Marketing and their branches. Part of my time was also spent ensuring all tickets in certain groups were accounted for and filed correctly. Another task which I completed was cutting thousands of railroad tickets apart. Overall, I had a great two days at TGM’s Corporate Headquarters. I appreciated the chance to work with Kim, Austin, and Maddie over my final two days. I truly tried to absorb as much information as I could.
Thank you to the Grain and Feed of Illinois as well as the entire Total Grain Marketing team for assisting me in my educational pursuits and for providing me with valuable experiences in the grain and feed industry. It is an honor to have been named a Grain and Feed Scholar and I genuinely look forward to what’s in store for me as I find my role in the agricultural industry!
Grain & Feed Association of Illinois
3521 Hollis Dr.