As I finish up my last semester at Murray State University, I was also able to finish up my shadows with Tosh Farms in Tennessee. My spring visits provided a slightly different experience from the fall ones, yet both provided me with invaluable experience. The Elevator Operations Manager whom I shadowed last semester, accepted a new position so I shadowed with his replacement. Mr. Wayne Casey is now serving in this role and is bring a fresh perspective to both the grain side as well as the whole company. In the past, Mr. Casey worked in Manufacturing as well as served our country in the Army, so doesn’t have an agriculture background – but is not letting that stop him. He walked me through how some aspects of his job are more difficult because of that, mainly due to our language that we use when describing items, or the acronyms, things like that. Hearing that opened my eyes, and my ears, to understanding how we could better make an impact on others if we broke some of that down. We talked about how the busy seasons change for him depending on the time of the year and how his new perspective was both good and bad for the customer base meaning the consumers and those he does merchandising with. Overall, it was very insightful and I am glad that Mr. Casey is taking on this challenge and I think he will be a great asset to the agriculture industry.
For the second part of my spring visit, I spoke to the HR Department of Tosh Farms. This was fitting for me as I will be working as an HR Generalist upon Graduation in May. Tosh Farm’s business structure is different than the company I will be working for, but the values held in farming and this industry we love were the same. Tosh Farms works a lot with H2A workers, which I found intriguing and was really able to learn from them in this area of how workers are really needed for this industry and how they work to fill that role. While there, I was able to learn about their efforts in including veterans and giving back to the organizations that serve their community. You could really see the family values within their company and how that impacted employee performance, and overall company performance as a result of that.
My spring visits at Tosh Farms weren’t what I expected, but I think they were what I needed: a fresh perspective on an industry I at times, “get used” to, and another application of the career path I am going in to within another faucet of the agriculture industry. I am very thankful for Tosh Farms as well as the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois for providing me with these experiences. It truly is an honor to be a GFAI Scholar!