Two Iowa State students selected as Land O’Lakes Emerging Leaders

From left to right: Brooke Beinhart, junior in agricultural business and agronomy, and Rachel Grober, senior in agricultural business, economics and supply chain management. Beinhart and Grober were selected as 2020 Global Food Challenge Emerging Leaders.

Sage Smith

Two Iowa State students have been selected as 2020 Global Food Challenge Emerging Leaders and will complete an internship at Land O’Lakes Inc. headquarters.

Rachel Grober, senior in agricultural business, economics and supply chain management, and Brooke Beinhart, junior in agricultural business and agronomy, both grew up on their family farms and continue to pursue a passion for agriculture.

Growing up, Grober and Beinhart were involved with Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H, which played into their future agriculture careers.

Grober and Beinhart were selected from a pool of students from all 11 partner universities in the sixth year of the program and then selected from 16 sophomore finalists from six universities.

Grober said two Iowa State students being selected this year for the internship attributes to the quality of students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The two Iowa State students will be working with a team of four other students from around the United States while at the internship.

“We’re going to be taking on a lot of challenges together, and that excites me,” Beinhart said. “We all come from very different backgrounds, so we’ll all be bringing in new ideas and new perspectives that hopefully will come together and essentially change something within the food industry and make a difference.”

To apply for the internship, Grober and Beinhart submitted their resumes and created individual videos about why they wanted the opportunity and how they can make a difference in agriculture. The finalists chosen from the videos then went on for a 10-minute interview.

“I really wanted to be a part of this program because it’s influential in agriculture and building leaders,” Grober said. “I just really want to be able to help the world and help make the world a better place than I found it but also create sustainable solutions for agriculture.”

The future of agriculture comes with challenges, but Emerging Leaders like Grober and Beinhart work with others to look for those solutions. One of those challenges is the growing population. According to the United Nations, the world population is predicted to reach 9.8 billion in 2050.

Another challenge facing the agriculture business is job availability, but Beinhart said she thinks the agriculture economy still has a bright future.

“There’s so many companies looking for young individuals that are bringing new ideas to the table,” Beinhart said. “They really appreciate young minds. So many industry professionals have came to us saying, ‘We want you here, we are still looking for you even though the ag economy is trending downwards right now.’ It’s kind of part of the business cycle, there’s ups and downs.”

In mid-January, Grober and Beinhart met with the four other Emerging Leaders for their internship orientation at the Land O’Lakes headquarters located in Arden Hills, Minnesota. The leaders also got to meet Land O’Lakes executive leaders, who expressed how excited they are about the program, Grober said.

The Land O’Lakes internship will last for 12 weeks and begin on May 26, ending with a final presentation the week of Aug. 10.

The Emerging Leaders will work with mentors at the headquarters in two different teams to develop a business project involved with one of Land O’Lakes four sectors: Purina, WinField United, Dairy Foods and Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN.

“Within one of those four sectors, they’ll give us a project that is going to be meaningful to them and to the sustainability of agriculture,” Grober said. “So I’m super excited about that and to be able to actually make a difference within a company as an intern and show my value.”

Traveling will be a big part of the internship, as the students are set to visit key Land O’Lakes locations, including member cooperative and farm locations. Exposure to international business, including Villa Crop Protection and Land O’Lakes Venture 37 projects in East Africa, will also be an opportunity for the students.

Beinhart said she’s looking forward to internationally traveling, as she hasn’t experienced international business before.

Something Grober said she wants to gain from the internship experience is building relationships and expanding her mindset through collaboration.

For her future, Grober said she’s hoping to focus on the dairy sector of agriculture. Beinhart said she’s not exactly sure on what pathway she wants to take but knows she wants to be with a company that pushes her to do her best and achieve her goals.

“In the end, I would like to be able to come back down to a local level,” Beinhart said. “I do enjoy the small communities and would like to help on my local farm and local 4-H or FFA because that’s where my passion sparks, so I want to be able to give back to my community in that way.”

When not focusing on the world of agriculture, Grober and Beinhart can be found spending time with friends and family and being involved on campus.