Young Alum of the Month: Andy Chamra

Andy Chamra
Title and Company: 
Farmer and Channel Seedsman
Rose Hill, IA
Major and Graduation Date: 
Agricultural, Business (minor in Agronomy), May 2013
Major Job/Position Responsibilities: 

My family and I raise corn and soybeans and run a cow/calf herd in Mahaska County.  We start calving in late March.  After raising the calves, we typically sell them when they are 500-700 pounds.  My major roles on the row crop side specifically include pre-emerge and post-emerge chemical applications, seed delivery, making hay, combining, and applying fertilizer.  We regularly maintain grassed waterways, terraces, and tile used for soil and water conservation practices.  I market and deliver the farm’s grain to multiple end-users throughout the year.  We do some custom farming and trucking on the side as well.

I’m also employed as a Seedsman for Monsanto’s Channel brand.  Selling seed (mostly corn and soybeans) and serving my customers fits well into our farm operation; when we are busy on our farm, my customers are busy as well.  Throughout the year, my sales job includes cold-calling, making sales, delivering product, and following up with the customer throughout the growing season.

What you like most about your job/position: 

I love working outside and being surrounded by the earth’s natural beauty on a day-to-day basis.  I really enjoy farming because of the wide variety of jobs that the occupation demands.  Some days I’m a mechanic or the guy on the end of a scoop shovel, and other days I make very large business decisions.  Every day is a new day on the farm and that’s what makes me jump out of bed every morning.

After being so involved on campus at Iowa State, I wanted to make sure I got my ‘business fix’ and had a role that involved engaging with people.  My favorite part of the seed business is the relationships I’ve made with other farmers.  I treat my customers’ businesses just like our own and try to find the most economical solutions to fulfill their specific needs.

What advice would you give to current students: 

Be involved on campus in a minimum of two extracurricular events/clubs.  It is a great way to create relationships with peers and develop skillsets that you may not have known you possessed.

Take a few classes that you are simply interested in (outside your major perhaps). You are surrounded by a wealth of knowledge and wisdom on campus; take advantage of those opportunities to learn.

Study abroad at least one time.  It doesn’t have to be a semester-long trip.  ISU offers several 10-15 day trips.  When I was a freshman, I swore I would never study abroad because I didn’t think it would be applicable to what I do in my professional career- I was wrong.  You learn an incredible amount in a short period of time, not to mention the lifelong friendships you make to boot (I traveled to Panama with Econ 496).

Follow your heart.  Pursue a career you desire to do rather than a career you think you ought to do.

Favorite ISU Class(es):
Agronomy 354- Soils and Plant Growth
Econ 336 – Agricultural Selling
Econ 337- Agricultural Marketing