Southeast Students Get Taste of ‘Farm to Plate’ with ADM Internships

For Southeast Missouri State University seniors Austin Flamm and Mary Liz Klueppel, agriculture doesn’t stop in the fields.

This summer, Flamm and Klueppel are interning with Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), one of the world’s largest agriculture processors and food ingredient providers.

Flamm of Cobden, Illinois, and Klueppel of Sikeston, Missouri, are both majoring in agribusiness, agriculture industry option, with minors in geographic information systems. Their hands-on experiences with ADM are taking them behind the harvest, and what it means to go from farm to plate.

As a grain merchandising intern in Hutchinson, Kansas, Klueppel is focused on buying and selling grain commodities in the cash market.

Her daily tasks include buying grain from farmers, hedging grain on the futures market and helping to manage ADM’s Grain Terminal Office in Hutchinson.

“I’m learning every part of how the futures market works and the factors that influence it,” she said. “I watch the futures market prices constantly all day every day. I also answer customers’ questions and assist them with advice on selling their grain.”

Klueppel is an integral part of linking the origination of grain from producers to ADM’s processors and beyond.

As an ag services operation management intern in Camanche, Iowa, Flamm helps get ADM’s products where they need to go.

Working along the Mississippi River, Flamm helps to load and unload trucks, railcars and barges, operate and maintain heavy equipment, and implement ADM’s safety programs and procedures.

“A typical day starts with barge traffic,” Flamm said. “We have to get the barges staged at one of our two docks. Depending on the commodity being carried, we use excavators to unload everything.”

Road salt, fertilizer, scrap metal and many other specialty products come through ADM’s Logistics Terminal in Camanche, and each commodity has its own processing procedures, he said.

Operating the heavy equipment at ADM’s largest owned and operated terminal, is one of the internship’s highlights, said Flamm.

“It is a different world when you are driving something from 15 feet or more off the ground,” he said. “One of my favorite things to operate is the track mobile, which we use to move railcars to and from the docks.”

He also gets to shadow the terminal’s managers as part of his internship’s program to train potential employees, Flamm said.

“This is a unique perspective because although I spend most of my time on the labor side of the job, I am also able to get a firsthand look at the business and logistical side of it too,” he said. “Essentially my job also means dealing with the situation my managers deal with on a daily basis.”

For Klueppel, the thrill of her internship is the unknown.

“My job is different every day,” she said. “It is hard to predict what the next day of work will be like because it’s hard to predict what the futures market will do.”

Their unique and knowledgeable experiences have prepared them not only for the classroom when they return to Southeast in August but also for careers when they graduate.

“I’m learning how agriculture works after the harvest,” Klueppel said. “By understanding the market, how it works and the factors that influence it, I can better understand the agriculture industry.”

Flamm added, “I feel more confident moving forward in my career as a student and as a professional in the agriculture industry.I have a passion for agriculture and I can’t see myself working in any other industry.”