Seeing the Big PictureShare
As an agricultural economics major at Purdue University, Jacquelyn Brown was interested in an internship opportunity with an ag-based company. As an Emerging Leader with the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge, she got that and a lot more.
“The program seemed like an amazing opportunity to travel, work for an agricultural company, and be exposed to many different business functions within Land O’Lakes,” she says. “At that point, I wasn’t sure about my career path, so this was a great chance to learn more about the ag business.”
Brown grew up on a hobby farm in Oregon and was involved in 4H and FFA in her rural community. She participated in the Global Food Challenge program during the 2014–2015 academic year.
Brown calls the time she spent in Africa with her fellow Emerging Leaders a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Learning about food insecurity, agriculture and sustainability, she was struck by the similarities between the people she met in Africa and those who work in agriculture in the United States.
“It’s easy to think that things are so different in another country from the way things are where you live,” she says. “But when you get there, you realize that everyone wants to provide food for their families, education for their children, and a better life for the next generation. That was eye-opening for me.”
As part of the program, Brown spent time at Sunrise Cooperative in Ohio. Because she did not have a crop production agriculture background, observing how to manage row crops like corn and soybeans was a new experience. But the thing that intrigued Brown the most was ag technology, which uses mobile devices and capabilities such as satellite imagery and weather data to evaluate crop growth.
“You’re standing in the middle of a field with a tablet in one hand and a smartphone in the other,” says Brown. “It wasn’t at all what I was expecting.” That particular summer brought large amounts of rain to the area, so Brown could look at maps on her tablet that indicated which fields were flooded and those that were faring better.
Exploring the possibilities
Brown is now in her two-year rotation in the Land O’Lakes Supply Chain Talent Acceleration Program (TAP). She works at a Purina Feed facility in Nashville where she has participated in numerous projects, including one on reducing waste. Soon, she will begin work at the Land O’Lakes corporate office in business optimization. This assignment entails doing market research and data analysis to identify opportunities to create more value within the supply chain.
“Being part of the Global Food Challenge enabled me to have a comprehensive view of how the different facets of Land O’Lakes work together,” says Brown. “It’s great to work for a company that is trying its best to do what’s best. It’s not just about feeding the world; it’s about doing it sustainably and striving to set an example for the industry. I feel good coming to work every day, knowing I’m part of a bigger picture.”