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April 10, 2024

Ag Internship Tips for Young Professionals 

Ag internships should be more than Starbucks runs. 

Internships have become increasingly popular over the years. In fact, in 1992, only 17 percent of students participated in internships. Fast forward to 2023, and that number has skyrocketed to over 61 percent. Getting hands-on experience early on is crucial for setting yourself up for success in your future career.  

But with so many portrayals of internships as endless coffee runs, how do you find a program that offers real experiences? And once you’re there, how do you make the most of it? We’ve gathered advice from current and former AgAmerica interns to answer these questions for those pursuing the perfect ag internship. 

Seven Ways to Enhance Your Ag Internship Experience

1. Analyze Company Culture 

When applying for ag internships, it’s essential to consider several factors. Look for a program that not only provides relevant work experience but also aligns with your needs as a student. Thomas Madden, a current AgAmerica intern, suggests reaching out to fellow students and friends to get an insider’s perspective whenever possible. 

“After my freshman year at the University of Florida, one of my good friends who worked with AgAmerica explained to me what it was like to be a part of the team. After our conversation, I was very interested and reached out to the talent team to hear if they were taking on any interns.” 

2. Maintain a Balance 

Maintaining a balance between work, life, and school can be challenging. Will Krause, another AgAmerica intern, emphasizes the importance of finding a company with a flexible schedule to ensure success as a student. 

“Balancing work, life, and school can be a lot, but AgAmerica has made that process much smoother than most companies have the capability to do.”  

3. Ask About Compensation 

As many as 47 percent of internships in the United States are unpaid. At AgAmerica, we believe the work interns do is valuable, and we compensate all of our interns.  

4. Build a Strong Foundation 

Internships offer invaluable industry-specific knowledge. Ag internships, in particular, have their own unique challenges and dynamics. Luke Wilmoth, a former AgAmerica intern turned Associate Director of Lending, credits his early exposure to the industry for his success.  

“When I first applied in 2016, I had very little knowledge in either lending or agriculture. The prospect of starting my career in an unfamiliar field was intimidating and a bit overwhelming. However, I had an intuition that the company was on the precipice of explosive growth; I wanted to be a part of that and I accepted the challenge.” 

Thomas Madden had a similar experience during his internship.

“In my two summer internships with AgAmerica, I have built a strong understanding of the processes involved in lending as well as what goes into credit analysis. Additionally, I have gained a wealth of knowledge on agriculture in the U.S. and what challenges farmers and ranchers face every day.” 

5. Network and Seek Mentorship 

Ben Wilmoth, a Financial Analyst at AgAmerica, says the key to success is building a network of mentors to guide you on your journey.  

“Be open to learning and failing. Constantly be curious and know that most all the AgAmericans you will come across are eager to teach and help you in your journey.” 

Thomas Madden agreed with Ben’s sentiment.

“I would advise new interns to meet with as many of the team members as possible. Doing this will not only help to expand your network, but it will give you an invaluable perspective from professionals who have worked in their industry for years.” 

6. Have a Learning-Focused Mindset 

The biggest mistake interns make is believing they have to know everything right away. Internships are about learning and growing—tapping into that mindset is the key to success. Will Krause cautions that coming into an ag internship experience thinking you already know everything you need to know will only limit your growth as a professional.

“Make sure you come into this internship with a mindset that you do not know everything, or even close to it. There are so many talented and bright individuals in this company, and you would be doing yourself disservice by not trying to get as much information from your superiors as possible.”

Brevyn Foreman, former intern and current Manager of Lending Operations believes the best way to enter the right mindset is by asking questions.  

“Be a sponge and learn as much as you can. Be open-minded with your role to find what you enjoy, and never stop asking questions.” 

7. Seek Hands-On Experience 

Don’t be afraid to dive into projects or ask to sit in on meetings. The most important role of an intern is to learn. Luke Wilmoth credits his involvement with day-to-day operations as a key factor in his success later in his career.  

“My internship at AgAmerica was a hands-on experience. I wasn’t sheltered or shielded from the daily cadence of work on the factory floor—I was a part of it. College taught me how to think critically, but AgAmerica showed me how to apply it.” 

Start Your Career at AgAmerica 

If you’re seeking a fast-paced, learning-focused internship in financial agriculture, AgAmerica might be the perfect fit for you. There’s ample opportunity for growth and advancement within this mission-centered company. More than six percent of full-time AgAmericans started their career in our internship program, and more than 37 percent of the leadership team started their careers there.  

Ready to kickstart your career in ag financing and put your skills to work supporting the backbone of America? Check out AgAmerica’s current open positions or reach out to explore internship opportunities. 

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