Sam Oborny – Nebraska Corn Board – Lincoln

Intern Update

Mid-Year 2023 Update

Time is moving so fast and it is hard to believe that it is almost Christmas and the end of 2023! This year has been nothing short of great. I have had many fantastic opportunities throughout this internship experience that I would not trade for the world. I have been staying busy in the office creating social media posts and helping out Jill and Katherine with little projects here and there.

Over the course of this year, I have had the chance to work on several projects, which have helped improve skills that I can use in my job after graduation. I have hit the ground running with Adobe Creative Suite, especially Photoshop, to create intriguing social media graphics. With this, I have been able to improve my creative skills and think of new designs to come up with. A bonus this year is that we got new photos for the board so I have enjoyed using the new photos in our social media posts.

This year I have tried to focus on branding and thinking with a branding mindset when writing copy, creating social media graphics and completing all the other projects I am tasked with. I feel like this has helped me create better quality material that is more appealing to look at. Continuing to work on all aspects of communication skills has been so rewarding, from making phone calls to writing emails to having face to face conversations with staff, growers, partners and industry leaders, each encounter is a learning experience. I have enjoyed strengthening my social media skills as well as press release writing skills throughout this last year.

Annual meeting preparation has begun so I have started helping Katherine get things ready. We have a few application deadlines approaching like the PRIME Program and Washington D.C. Leadership Mission, so preparing for those events is on the horizon soon!

June 2023 Update

It is crazy to think that it is already July and that summer is going by so quickly! On July 29th, the PRIME Program hosted their ag tour session in St. Louis. My day started bright and early, arriving at the airport around 3:30 AM where I met up with Katherine Byrne, Director of Grower Services for the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and leader of the PRIME Program. Once everyone arrived we made our way through TSA and boarded our plane shortly after to make the quick 50-minute flight to St. Louis. Upon arrival, we ubered to Chick-Fil-A where we ate breakfast and reviewed the agenda for the day.

The day consisted of various ag tours around the St. Louis area. Our first tour was of the Melvin Price Locks and Dam located on the Mississippi River. We learned about some of the history of the dam as well as the operation aspect of the dam. This dam is the passageway for hundreds of barges a year and we learned that each barge is the equivalent of 60 truck loads! These barges usually travel in a 15-barge tow, which is the same as 900 trucks! I was very interested to hear about the construction of the dam and look at the history in the museum that is located there as well.

After the Locks and Dam tour, we made our way to Steak N Shake to eat a quick lunch before heading to our next tour spot, Cargill. We visited the East St, Louis Cargill location that is located right next to the Gateway Arch! We gained valuable insight into the everyday operations of this plant and learned that one of the bin sets was built in 1890 and is still seamlessly functioning today! This facility is like a normal elevator here in Nebraska, except they load and ship grain on barges every day. During the busy season, they load multiple barges a day and ship them upriver to their headquarters in Minnesota. Their main crops consist of corn, soybeans, and wheat. At the time of our visit, they were just nearing the end of wheat harvest, so there was not a truck dumping at that time, but we were still shown the entire process.

Our final tour of the day took place at the National Corn Growers Association office, where we engaged in enlightening conversations with Cathryn Wojcicki, the Director of Communications, and Sarah McKay, the Director of Market Development. Through this visit, we gained insights into the operations of the NCGA, specifically through its St. Louis office. We also learned about the exciting opportunities that lie ahead for participants in the PRIME Program. Sarah shared fascinating details about the innovative applications of corn and the diverse projects and products she is actively involved in. Cathryn, on the other hand, offered us a glimpse into the dynamic communications side of the association, sharing her involvement in a wide range of impactful projects.

We ended our day in St. Louis at Schlafly Tap Room where we ate dinner and continued to engage in conversation with fellow PRIME Participants as well as Cathryn, who joined us for dinner. After dinner, we made the trek to the airport where we waited around 4 hours to board our plane back home. Our original flight was scheduled for 10:00 PM that day, but kept getting delayed so we did not get home until about 12:45 AM! Overall, I had a great time and gained many new experiences in the agriculture sector. Having the opportunity to network with industry leaders as well as fellow corn producers from across the state of Nebraska was something that I really enjoyed. I am excited to see how I can continue to grow throughout my time as the Nebraska Corn intern!