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Ryan Ricketts — pictured here using an unmanned aerial vehicle during his summer internship with Monsanto — is a 2014 graduate of the Western Illinois University School of Agriculture. He is currently pursuing his master's degree in business administration (MBA) in WIU's College of Business and Technology.
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A Leatherneck Summer: Ryan Ricketts

July 28, 2015

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Ryan Ricketts is a 2014 graduate of the Western Illinois University School of Agriculture. He is currently pursuing his master's degree in business administration (MBA) in WIU's College of Business and Technology.

"A Leatherneck Summer" by Ryan Ricketts

Courtesy of WIU Athletics

Most of my college career has been busy practicing for football games on Hanson Field on Saturdays, running hills by the Union in preparation for the upcoming grueling fall camp and waking up before the sun to lift weights with my teammates to get ready for spring football practice. However, this summer I am currently involved in a great summer internship, on top of preparing for our 2015 football campaign. The company I am doing my internship with is called Monsanto, and it is located in Monmouth (IL). Monsanto delivers agricultural products that support farmers all around the world.

This is my third summer working as a field sales intern for the company, where I am assigned to the western Illinois region under my supervisor Joel Johnson. My duties for the summer are to help assist each of Joel's seven seedmen (or channel seed salesman), as well as to help in assisting one of Monsanto's top producer accounts in western Illinois.

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday my days start at 4:30 a.m. with lifting and running for football, which goes until roughly 7:45 a.m. After workouts I head home for a quick shower, a cup of coffee and get on the road to my assignment for the day.

Every Monday I meet with our top producer, and we have an agronomy meeting. A different local agronomist or crop specialist attends, and we talk about current issues in corn and soybean crops in western Illinois. We also look at potential issues we could see in the upcoming crop and things to be aware of while we are observing the fields.

Several key issues we are looking for throughout the summer growing season are: weed presence in a field and proper timing for a herbicide application, and monitoring crop growth and deciding if an additional application of nitrogen, herbicide or potential fungicide needs to be added to the crop.

This summer we have been constantly monitoring for damage from excessive rains, hail and severe winds.

When I am not assisting my assigned top producer account, I am assisting my assigned district sales manager, our salesmen, local farmers and customers. I have helped on a number of important things that go on in the summer.

A major project for the summer is taking inventory on returned seed corn and soybeans that did not get planted. The returns have to be counted up, organized by hybrid and lot number, and shipped back to headquarters.

Another summer project is to assist our salesmen and DSM put up field signs along fields and plots to help promote our seed. I also go out with customers into their fields to look at issues they may have concerns about, have questions on or to assess their crop with a brand representative.

Another educational experience I obtained was spending a day at Monsanto's world headquarters in St. Louis (MO). I attended a meeting with Channel's Brand marketing lead, Channel's brand manager, the DSM trainee lead, Monsanto's Illinois business director for all of Monsanto's seed and the top producer leads from Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.

I have been blessed to get my bachelor's degree in agriculture business from WIU and start on my MBA while playing football for the Leathernecks. My experiences in the classroom and on the field have prepared me for my summer internships with Monsanto and hopefully will lead to full-time employment in the agriculture industry.

Posted By: WIU Athletics (
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