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Future bright for local ag interns

Interns (l-r) Jacob Larkin, Mark Raube, Colin Stark and Caleb Hartman at the Precision Planting farm at Pontiac / CIFN photo.

PONTIAC – The future looks promising for a group of interns at the Precision Planting PTI Farm in Pontiac.

There is plenty to do on the farm which is why commercial agronomist Jason Webster chose the college students for extra help during the busy season.

“They’re doing a lot of the manual work on the farm, but it’s also a learning process,” Webster explained.

Jacob Larkin of Pontiac has been involved with farming his entire life as his father and grandfather are farmers. He is attending Parkland College in Champaign, studying precision agriculture. Larkin eventually wants to get back to the family farm.

“Right now, we have all of the field days so it’s nice being able to network with all the people,” Larkin said of working at the Pontiac farm.

Mark Raube of Pontiac also comes from a farming background and studies precision agriculture and agronomy at Parkland. He hopes to eventually transfer to South Dakota State to study ag.

“The hands-on agronomic skills that we cannot learn anywhere else besides in the field is really nice,” Raube noted.

Colin Stark of Pontiac currently studies agronomy at Iowa State University and hopes to land a job as a research agronomist someday. His family raises row crops and hogs and he enjoys everything about farm life. Stark especially likes watching farmers learn about new technology.

“I enjoy being a part of helping them better understand what they’re looking at and what they’re working with.”

Caleb Hartman of Fairbury attends the University of Illinois, studying crop sciences with a concentration in agri-business. He grew up around hogs, corn and beans so ag is the perfect fit. He considers working at the research farm an interesting experience.

“The field days are pretty interesting – working with farmers and teaching them about the plots we have out here,” Hartman said.

The four interns have seen everything come together at the Precision Planting PTI Farm this year from start to finish. Webster refers to the students as dedicated individuals who enjoy what they do. The farm is always looking for interns, so Webster encourages those with an interest in ag to keep Precision Planting in mind.

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