My name is Isaac Brockman and I am a junior Agribusiness major at Illinois State University. I am from Verona, IL, which is where my family farms corn and soybeans. It has been a blessing to have been selected for the GFAI Scholarship, as this scholarship has gone beyond just a one-time recognition. In the summer, fellow recipients and I were able to enjoy the information-filled and eye-opening Industry Immersion Tour. This experience allowed us to network, gain a wider perspective on Illinois agriculture, and understand how important the grain and feed industries are to the economy, infrastructure, and communities of Illinois.
In addition to the Industry Immersion Tour, we recipients were fortunate enough to be set up with job shadowing experiences in the fall and spring. I was fortunate to be connected with FS GRAIN, which is based in Morris, IL, only about twenty-five minutes from my home. What made this experience even more valuable was that I was working towards earning an internship with FS GRAIN for next summer. At the main office, I was able to meet the staff and understand how they worked together for the function of the organization. I spent valuable time learning from Bryan Rader, Merchandising Manager, who explained the core business functions of FS GRAIN and how they utilize the many markets available in Northern Illinois. In the afternoon, I had the opportunity to travel to one of FS GRAIN’s container loading facilities, where I was able to learn how grain, especially soybeans, move efficiently from rural Illinois farms to Asian markets. Because of the awesome people at FS GRAIN and GROWMARK, I was able to earn and accept an offer for a summer 2021 GROWMARK Internship at FS GRAIN, shortly after the first job shadow day! Weeks later, I was called back for my second day and traveled to one of FS GRAIN’s modern rail-loading facilities. There, I was able to learn from Facility Supervisor Paul Hogan, who gave a great tour of the facility and was a great resource for questions I had about their operations. I was amazed by how quickly they fill railcars. It was also quite impressive to hear that the inbound grain can be dumped so quickly at this facility, which definitely provides value to farmers in the rush of harvest and even in the slower months. I had an awesome couple days this fall and look forward to continuing my GFAI Job Shadow experience at FS GRAIN in the spring!