Farm Horizons, April 2017

Ag careers: ‘They took a chance on me’

By Starrla Cray

Growing up on the east side of the Twin Cities, Keedy Tonn didn’t have much exposure to agriculture as a child. But the little bit she did know about it, she loved – and she wanted more.

Keedy often talked to friends from her dad’s hometown in Iowa about farming, asking questions and learning as much as she could. When she graduated from high school in 2014, she decided to attend North Dakota State University for ag economics.

At the end of freshman year, Keedy knew she wanted to stay immersed in agriculture, and explored options for a summer internship. She heard about crop scouting at Mid-County Coop, and jumped at the chance to apply.

“I remember my interview with [Mid-County agronomy manager] Scott [Nelson],” Keedy said. “I told him flat-out, ‘I don’t know anything, but that’s why I’m here.’ I told them I’d do anything, and they took a chance on me.”

Keedy remembers learning a lot that summer, and said the guys at Mid-County were “super helpful.”

When she returned to NDSU, Keedy slightly shifted her field of study, and is now a junior majoring in crop and weed sciences, with a double minor in ag economics and equine sciences.

Keedy interned with WinField in North Dakota in the summer of 2016, and plans to go back again this summer at a location in Wisconsin.

“I’m so thankful to Mid-County, because that was the basis for everything,” Keedy said. “That was my very first time working in agriculture.”

Rick Ancel

Like Keedy, former Mid-County Agronomy intern Rick Ancel didn’t grow up on a farm, but had a passion for all things green and growing.

Ancel (a native of Savage) served as a crop scout intern at Mid-County in summer of 2014, and as a sales/marketing intern the year after.

“Without starting out at Mid-County, I probably would have had a hard time getting where I am now,” he said.

In May 2016, Ancel completed his degree in agricultural industries and marketing from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

“The focus of my major is in crops and soils, so on top of business, my major focuses on agronomy, soil science, and applied plant science, along with world issues and solutions pertaining to agriculture,” Ancel noted on his LinkedIn page.

After graduation, Ancel was hired for a two-year training program at WinField United. He initially served under a regional agronomist in southern Minnesota, where his responsibilities included applying pesticide treatments, soil/tissue sampling and analysis, crop research, and advising customers.

In January, WinField relocated Ancel to New Hampton, IA, where he works as an agronomy associate. He’s looking forward to helping farmers with their seed and chemical purchases, and making sure the growing season runs smoothly.

When he’s not at work, Ancel can be found hunting (in the fall), cooking, and reading. He also considers himself a “music geek,” although he doesn’t play an instrument.

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