Have you ever wondered what a career in agriculture might look like? Cooperatives offer many career opportunities, maybe even ones you might not think of. Take a deeper dive into a career that is offered by an agricultural cooperative and grow more.
KELBY | NEBRASKA
Kelby works at a cooperative in Nebraska and shares what his experience working as a grain merchandiser at the co-op is like.
WHAT DOES A GRAIN MERCHANDISER DO?
A merchandiser is responsible for buying and selling grain and managing elevator logistics. We work to discover markets for the grain that comes into our elevators. We build relationships with end users to gain market intel to provide opportunities to the growers who bring us grain. We establish the bids that we pay our customers for their grain based on how we can sell grain to the end users. We are responsible for managing expenses and finding ways drive revenue to enhance profit for the company.
Describe what your day looks like:
A typical day for me involves communicating/building relationships with the buyers who I sell grain to on behalf of our company. I gather market intel to help me make decisions on what to do with our company’s grain. I work with the operations team to make sure we are maintaining grain quality and managing space at each location. I coordinate logistics with the operations team to make sure we are moving grain out of our elevators by truck or rail in a way that lines up with what the market wants/needs and what our elevators/want need.
HARDEST TASK YOU ARE ASSIGNED:
One of the most interesting and challenging tasks that I handle is making sure logistics are in order to keep our elevators fluid through bean harvest. Every year we have to ship a certain amount of trains and transfer a certain amount of beans to make sure our elevators have enough space to get through harvest. It’s a challenge to try to put the pieces together to make sure all locations are taken care of and get trains to show up at the right time to avoid going full and having to turn bushels away.
What’s something you know about the industry now that you didn’t when you started?
One of the first and most important things that I learned is that the grain business is a very small world. A former boss and mentor of mine told me to never burn a bridge in the business because you never know when or how someone might cross your path again. I can’t emphasize how true this is and how many times I’ve seen this play out over the course of my career.
BEST THING ABOUT WORKING IN THE AG INDUSTRY:
There are so many good people that you run across in this business and you find that a lot of them have the same interests and passions as you. This job allows me to live in and be active in the community where I grew up while also living out my passion of being a grain merchandiser.
Take a look at actual job openings at one of the largest agricultural cooperatives in the Midwest, Central Valley Ag, to see if there are any jobs that interest you.