Young Alum of the Month: Nathan Underwood

Nathan Underwood
Title and Company: 
Senior Grain Merchandiser at Flint Hills Resources, Shell Rock, Iowa
New Hampton, Iowa
Major and Graduation Date: 
Ag Studies (Agronomy minor), December 2007
Major Job/Position Responsibilities: 

As a Senior Merchandiser, I manage the purchasing of over 35 million bushels of corn annually.  I work directly with farmers and elevators to originate corn from northeast Iowa.  I analyze cash markets daily and work with farmers to determine what contracts work best for their operation.  I also work closely with our operations leadership team to forecast inventory needs, truck and rail logistics and evaluating long-term business strategy.

What you like most about your job/position: 

The things I enjoy the most are daily challenge and change.  Volatility in the commodity markets continues to challenge the timing of when I make purchases or when I should be liquidating positions.  Trying to help farmers connect how corn prices can impact their farming operation is always changing.  I really enjoy spending time working with farmers and learning about different operations.  Having the opportunity to build the trust of new customers has been very fulfilling for me!

What advice would you give to current students: 
  • Utilize internship programs to help determine what kind of a career you are interested in.  Internships helped me find a variety of jobs that fit my strengths. 
  • Never stop learning!  Always make time to network and focus on building industry knowledge.
  • Change is good!  Especially early in your career think out of the box.  Having an open mind on ‘envisioning what could be’ can help you create more value for the company.   
  • Find a job that you are excited about going to work every day!   Being passionate about your job will help you setup a successful career.
  • Find time to dream just a little and have some fun along the way!      

Favorite ISU Class

Swine 425 or AGEDS 450