My Ogallala Commons Internship Experience!

It has been said that “time flies by fast.” I don’t think that others, like me, are always completely understanding of or ready for what this phrase implies. At the beginning of this internship, I had a long summer full of excitement ahead of me. I couldn’t imagine it coming to an end so fast. Now that this summer has flown by, I can look back and say that I have enjoyed every minute. I have been able to learn a lot from James Todd, my fellow interns, and many of the people I have met throughout the summer. Looking back over my internship, I can definitely say I am very grateful and rewarded.

This summer I worked on four projects for my internship. One of the projects for my internship was scouting cotton fields. With all the crops that I have checked, I have watched and scouted the fields from their first emergence out of the ground to about full grown plants just not quite ready to harvest. The main things that I would look for when I entered a cotton field were nutrient excess/deficiencies, moisture levels, insects, weeds, diseases, and any type of damage. Even though I am from an agriculture/farming background, I have not had much experience with cotton. From watching it grow this summer, I definitely think that this is one of my favorite crops that I scouted. The plant itself, how it grows, and what it can be used for is simply amazing. I have been fascinated with this plant all summer. The only downside is that I will not be able to see all of the fields that I checked completely mature to harvest since my internship will now be ending.


These are the stages of cotton that I have been able to observe this summer.

Another project for my internship was scouting corn fields. The biggest challenge in my opinion for corn this year has be heat and water. Corn requires a lot of water to grow. The heat this summer made it hard to keep moisture in the soil. At the beginning of the summer the soil had plenty of moisture, but as we approached the end fields were very dry. Even though corn has been through much this summer, farmers will still make crops from careful planning and watering. The problems I looked for in corn increased at the summer progressed. The main things that I looked for were nutrient excess/deficiencies, moisture levels, diseases, insects, weeds, and any type of damage.IMAG0827

These are just a few of the visible stages of corn that I have observed this summer.

Also for my internship, I scouted a few miscellaneous crops scattered in the area. These crops included sunflowers, black-eyed peas, milo, and millet. These crops were interesting to check since they were something different from the usual corn and cotton fields. With these miscellaneous fields came new insects and things to check. For example, the other interns and I would swipe across fields of black-eyed peas with a butterfly net to catch harmful insects called “Lygus.”Headed out field of milo.

This is field of milo headed out.

The last project for my internship was helping harvest James Todd’s wheat plots. Plots in the field were tested with different fertilizer combinations. In some plots, productivity was clearly visible when certain fertilizers were put in the soil compared to no fertilizer at all. One of the neatest things I was able to do is run a small engine powered thrashing machine to harvest wheat.IMG_16771

This is a picture of James Todd, me, and the thrasher thrashing wheat.

I would categorized the success of my internship in three ways. First, even though James and we interns were behind just a bit each week on checking 550 fields each week, we kept pushing to get more fields done each day. Second, everyone one of us worked and got along well with each other. When you work with positive/happy people, that attitude is contagious. Third, from our work, many farmers were able to know what was going on in their fields, make beneficial decisions, and save money.

I can definitely say that I have been able to work for a great supervisor and with great coworkers. One of the main challenges that all of us faced this year was having three interns instead of five to do the same workload as past summers. Another challenge was the heat. For a good two weeks the temperatures were above 100 degrees. To combat this challenge, we would start earlier in the morning before the sun came up. If I was to classify anything as a failure, it would be that I didn’t wear sunscreen on some days and should have…. I definitely invested in some very good sunscreen and a good hat after that!


This is the crew!

I think that this internship has been very successful. I have enjoyed working with my supervisor, fellow interns, local farmers, people in the community, and Ogallala Commons. I believe that this experience will benefit me as I go through life and make career decisions. I am very grateful for this opportunity.

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