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Young Alum of the Month: Jamie Schechinger

Name:  Jamie Schechinger

Hometown:  Westphalia, Iowa

Major and Graduation Date:  Agricultural Studies, Minors in Agronomy and Business, May 2020 

Favorite ISU class:  Econ 336 (Sales) with Dr. Ron Deiter 

Job Title & Company: – Sales Agronomist, Yara North America 

Major Job/Position Responsibilities:  Yara is one of the top fertilizer manufacturers in the world. They lead the world in crop nutrition and work towards a nature positive food future every day.

At Yara I work on the commercial team as a Sales Agronomist.  I cover a wide territory across the Midwest serving retail ag businesses to provide the best crop nutrition options to their growers.  I focus on specialty products to help diversify the retail partners’ offerings and provide the best ROI to the growers including dry and liquid fertilizers and foliar products.  I also help train other agronomists and growers to use crop nutrition as the starting point of crop health and potential. 

What you like most about your job/position:  My favorite part about my job is getting to cover a large territory and the new perspective it brings with it.  My territory includes western Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska but I get to collaborate with agronomists across the Midwest, Unites States, and sometimes world.  Covering a large territory comes with many new farming practices, weather patterns, and even crops.  I would have never guessed I would be giving advice on wheat, helping solve a disease issue in potatoes, and even collaborating on watermelon nutrition.  It is amazing!  All these new things bring their own challenges and opportunities to learn something new.  It is also helpful to gain perspectives from different areas to see what I can bring back to my own area to implement for a more productive future. The learning curve continues past college, and it is my favorite part of the position. 

What advice would you give to current students pursuing a career in Agriculture and Life Sciences?   The best advice I would give a current student in agriculture is to check out your options.  I am amazed at the thousands of different opportunities and avenues an Agriculture degree from ISU can offer.  Do not lock your view into the top 2-3 companies that everyone competes for, the industry is so much more.  Smaller or ‘off-the-grid” companies can offer new experiences outside the normal agriculture daily tasks that build our industry further into the future every single day.  I am amazed to talk to old classmates, mentors, and growers to hear their unique opportunities and projects they are working on. For example, who knew a commercial fertilizer company would need a fresh college grad like me.  Or my friend with an agronomy degree that connects growers with food companies to work on sustainability practices together. Or an Ag Systems Technology graduate building one of the first manned drone companies in the Midwest.  The options are endless!  Utilize your resources through career services, career fairs, internships, and ask the hard questions.  Keep your eyes and ears open at ISU and connect with anyone you can. There are so many opportunities waiting for you that you did not even think of!