Northeast Student Travels for Internship

Published on: August 27, 2019

PIERCE, NE – Nebraska, Kansas and parts of Colorado are the territories with answers for Collin Tinker, summer intern at WinField United. The internship places the Pierce native one step closer to his goal—a degree in agronomy from Northeast Community College.

WinField United brings together two organizations with a shared vision of agronomy and services: Land O’Lakes, best known for its butter and dairy products, and United Suppliers, offering seed and crop protection products and agricultural assistance. 

The belief of WinField United staff, Tinker said, is “It’s not just the seed you buy, it’s where you plant and how you manage it that matters.” He said staff work collecting Answer Plot data to evaluate how seed products perform in the field and assisting growers in decision-making, resulting in dependable results at harvest.

As a new intern at WinField United, Tinker received his week-long orientation in Minnesota, the origins of Land O’Lakes. Interns from across the country—60 in all—met there, Tinker said, in the first week of their May through August program. Once in the field, Tinker has worked on his own and with other interns.

Although Tinker grew up on an acreage, he worked for area farmers, including his uncles. However, research and experimentation have been new for him.

“In class we wonder if we’re ever going to use the information we’ve learned,” Collin said. The internship ties everything together. “A lot of the guys we worked with did this in college,” Tinker said.

WinField United’s seed agronomist interns scout test plots planted primarily to corn, although they also work with wheat, soybeans, alfalfa and sunflowers. Interns check for various insects and diseases, as well as recording the population of each hybrid, for example, yield comparisons at the end of the season and the spacing between plants,

“Some hybrids like to be packed together; others like more space,” he explained.

By understanding the products that work best for local conditions and specific crops, interns will be able to provide growers access to products that will work.

At the close of the internship, students will present their findings at the WinField United corporate offices.

Northeast students have the choice of completing a summer internship between their first and second year of college, or attending summer classes. Tinker has an option to complete a similar internship next year.

Tinker advises other Northeast students to look into internship opportunities. “You get to travel to lots of places and meet new people,” he said. “I’m pretty fortunate.”

“Find something you might be nervous about, and go after it,” he said. “You won’t learn if you’re too afraid to do it.”

Funding for the$23 million project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site with a farm office and storage, a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, and a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex on East Benjamin Avenue.

For more information, contact Northeast Community College Associate Vice President of Development and External Affairs Dr. Tracy Kruse, tracyk@northeast.edu, 402-844-7056. Online donations can be made through the website agwaternexus.com. Checks can be mailed to: Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.

Photo Cutline – Tinker

Collin Tinker