It is hard to believe that I have been a member of the DIS team for nearly four months now! A lot has changed since the beginning of the spring semester when I started my internship, but I am grateful to be able to continue my work and research remotely for the time being. I will be graduating (virtually) from Iowa State University the first week of May and continuing my internship this summer.
I grew up on a farrow-to-finish hog operation in northeast Iowa and have completed two internships in the pork industry, so I have greatly enjoyed getting to work on projects in this field. One of the first projects I worked on at DIS was an economic impact study on various types of hog operations in seven different states. I found it extremely interesting to research the variations in building costs, labor, regulations, productivity, and pricing data across different regions of the U.S. It was also very cool to see this information used to project the economic contribution that these operations yield.
More recently, I helped gather pricing data for nearly all feed ingredients used in the diets of hogs, cattle, dairy, turkeys, and broilers. Once again, the different feed ingredient rations used and variation of prices in different regions were interesting. Although not every state produces every feed ingredient, we used available prices and transportation costs to calculate a price for each state. This information was used to assess the competitiveness and use level of soybean products in livestock diets across the country. While I have the most background knowledge in pork production, I’ve enjoyed learning about other species and each industry’s unique needs.
I have already learned so much in four short months and have definitely enhanced my Excel skills. I look forward to getting involved in even more projects throughout the summer and continuing to learn about various agricultural sectors!