Meet Brian Buckallew from Pioneer, a DuPont business. Brian has some important insights for students as they consider career and internship success.
Collegiate FFA is fortunate to have not only the great enthusiasm and participation from students across the country; it also benefits from an amazing amount of assistance from professionals throughout the agriculture industry. One of these professionals is Brian Buckallew with Pioneer, a DuPont business and a major sponsor of FFA’s New Century Farmer program.
Brian was raised on a cow/calf operation in Northeast Missouri and was a member of the Clark County High School FFA chapter. He’s a graduate of Western Illinois University, where he studied biological science. Brian has been a key contributor to New Century Farmer, held annually at Pioneer’s Iowa headquarters. “It is truly one of the most rewarding experiences I have had,” he said. He is also involved in a leadership program called DuPont Young Leaders. “I enjoy participating in a dedicated effort to help the next generation of farmers be successful as well as become strong voices for production agriculture.”
During his time at Western Illinois, Brian prepared for a career in agriculture by working at USDA for two summers, and he also had a summer internship with DuPont. “Anything one can do to begin building work experience, developing relationships and a network of people can prove to be invaluable down the road,” he said.
For students considering their own career pursuits, Brian suggests tapping into the relationships and personal networks to identify different opportunities. “Do a self-assessment --- identify what your strengths are, understand what you like and don’t like about past jobs, etc.,” he adds. “Knowing yourself and your attributes will help you determine what type of role you will best fit into.” Brian tells students to understand that their first job will likely not be their last job, so students should look for a variety of job opportunities as they build their career paths.
“Agriculture is becoming increasingly more complex, technologically advanced, and globally connected. We need a workforce that can handle this fast-paced and evolving industry.” Brian advises that along with leadership and communication skills, today’s students need to be able to have the abilities to both identify and solve problems while working in a collaborative environment. “We need people who are passionate about agriculture with a technical skill set and ability to handle tremendous amounts of information and collaborate with colleagues around the globe. In addition, we need people who can to talk to farmer groups, regulatory and the public about the work we are doing.”