A Summer of Scouting
August 1, 2015

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My time as an intern is coming to a close. I have gained an incredible amount of knowledge this summer learning how to identify and report diseases in crops, finding and describing pests in crops, accurately defining the stage a crop is in, and evaluating the conditions that a crop is living in. Before my time here I would have never guessed all the obstacles that crops, farmers, and consultants face every growing season. From mites and rust in corn to bollworms in cotton, a lot is riding on the notes and observations of scouts in the field.

This year was especially wet and gave rise to fungal diseases that aren’t always present in west Texas. This meant that observing the field as it is was important so that James Todd could make necessary recommendations to his farmer clients. It took me some time to get the full hang of finding these pests and diseases but with weeks of practice under my supervisor James, I am able to walk into any field and find what needs to be found in an accurate and efficient manner. I can say that this job is no pushover, it is long hours in harsh conditions. We were no stranger to ten hour days and 90 degree weather with humidity at a high especially once one walks into a field of corn. There were times that I would get tired and thanks to my supervisor he would whip me right back into shape and even take me along with him to make sure I was able to perform at a level he expected.

One thing I can really relate to my field of study and this internship is the vast varieties of each crop there are. The field of biotechnology runs rampant in the agricultural industry, creating strains of crops that fit every need and every climate. I’m glad to have had the chance to be first hand with the fruit of biotechnological labor. Every field of corn came from a single seed that was produced to behave in a specific manner to fit its environment. This experience will aid me when it comes time to look for jobs in this industry because I will now have experience working up close with these plants and have a background in agriculture.

I am grateful to Ogallala Commons and Todd Ag Consulting for giving me an opportunity to be apart of their business for a short while. I know these ten weeks will last a lifetime for me so I can look back and have great memories of my time being a field scout.