June 4, 2009
Grad combines high-tech skills with love of farming
Growing up in the rural north Missouri town of Skidmore, Kandi Jenkins always felt connected to farming and farm life. Now, just six months after graduating from Northwest Missouri State University, she is working at the forefront of agriculture technology.
Jenkins' initially chose Northwest because of its location and size. Growing up in a small town left her with little desire to attend a big college in a big city, and she didn't want to get too far away from home. Northwest was always a strong possibility, she said, but it wasn't until settling firmly on a career path that she made the final decision.
"Northwest's agriculture program is pretty well-known," she said. "When I decided I wanted to major in ag, I knew it was a good place for me."
Jenkins' decision to attend Northwest was, in large part, based on the hands-on experience she knew she would receive at the R.T. Wright University Farm.
The North Farm, as it is often called, is a 750-acre spread where students and agriculture faculty maintain a beef herd, produce market lambs and conduct a farrow-to-finish swine operation. North Farm crops include corn, soybeans and hay, and the site also provides opportunities for students to perform soil analysis and global positioning research.
Actual farm experience coupled with the opportunity to plan her academic and professional future with the help of a caring, qualified advisor are two big reasons for her success at Northwest and beyond, Jenkins said.
"I had a really good advisor while attending Northwest," she said. "Having someone to advise, mentor and give direction was great."
Part of Jenkins' college experience included a course in managerial communication, during which she worked on a project that focused on job and career Web sites. Jenkins set up accounts on a variety of sites and, during her research, discovered a recruiting company called Volt Technical Resources.
Through Volt, Jenkins landed a job as a customer support representative with John Deere Ag Management Solutions. A December 2008 graduate of Northwest, she now spends her days working with John Deere customers, dealers and farmers to discover how technology can help them maximize efficiency and profits.
"The GreenStar system provides precision farming products that optimize efficiency in our customers' farming operations," Jenkins said. "Our products include displays; aids for guidance, accuracy and section/rate control; and software. These components are designed as an integrated part of John Deere equipment and can be moved from machine to machine to get the most out of your investment."
Jenkins' journey to the forefront of agriculture technology was long and demanding, and she credits Northwest Missouri State for providing the educational opportunities that made it possible.
" I love the products that John Deere Intelligent Vehicle Systems has come out with. It's amazing what they can do with technology, and I really enjoy being a part of it."
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