What a whirlwind 2020 has been so far. This summer I had a great opportunity to intern with the merchandising team at Ag Processing Inc. (AGP) at their regional office in Eagle Grove, IA. AGP primarily engages in purchasing soybeans from regional and local cooperatives, as well as private elevators. With the merchandising team I purchased soybeans, sold hi-pro soybean meal, soybean hulls, and AGP’s dairy bypass protein, AMINOPLUS®. Additionally, I analyzed our daily hedging position, compiled plant reports, and assisted with truck dispatching. My supervisor for the summer was Shara Schmeling, the merchandising manager for the Eagle Grove regional office. I had the opportunity to sit down with Shara to gain some insight into her path in merchandising, as well as gather some advice.
Shara got her start in merchandising through an internship she had while at Iowa State her junior year. She started with AGP in 2010, and first worked at AGP’s plant in Emmetsburg, IA before moving to Eagle Grove after a year. At each plant, she engaged in the procurement of soybeans and sale of finished soy commodities, developing relationships with customers, and engaging in supply chain management. Today, Shara is the regional merchandising manager for the Eagle Grove office, which oversees merchandising and logistics for the Emmetsburg and Mason City, IA plants as well. When I asked Shara to reflect on her time at AGP she stated, “My role with AGP is a very fulfilling one, I enjoy the company and the culture. I am part of a team who is very committed and work hard every day.” When speaking to those interested in a career in merchandising, she highlighted the importance of learning about the fundamentals of merchandising and gathering experience with a company to learn about the day to day activities.
I appreciate the continued financial and interactive support of the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois. I had a great experience talking with members in February at the annual convention, and the willingness of these members to make time to offer advice to those of us interested in the industry.
I wish you all a safe and successful harvest season, and I hope to see you in February.
Will J. Feucht