One of the secrets of success is to look for opportunities that can expand your knowledge and advance your career. Fillmore County native Travis Troendle accomplished both recently when he was offered and accepted a Fellowship to Address Global Hunger through Land O’ Lakes, Inc., in their Global Food Challenge Emerging Leaders for Food Security Program.
Troendle, the son of Pat and Christine Troendle of Lanesboro, Minn., is attending Iowa State University studying Biological Systems Engineering, with a focus in food engineering and food science.
The Fillmore County Journal has followed Troendle through his internship with Land O’ Lakes to find out what his expectations were and then to learn how the internship impacted him.
“I live on a dairy farm right outside of Lanesboro and through that and through being involved with 4-H and FFA, I really developed a passion for agriculture in general, and pairing that with some of my other interests is how I ended up here at Iowa State studying agricultural engineering,” states Troendle.
About two years ago he went to his first engineering career fair at Iowa State, notes Troendle, explaining, “I saw the Land O’ Lakes booth and having grown up on a dairy farm myself, I was familiar with Land O’ Lakes, so I went up and talked to them (to learn more).
“During our discussion, we talked about several things,” including regular internships in general, says Troendle. “I also learned a little more about the company,” he said.
“The recruiter brought up the program they have — the Global Food Challenge — and she mentioned that it was a program for sophomores to apply for,” he explains. “So about a year before I actually started looking at the possibility of applying was the first time I heard about it,” states Troendle. “Then I started doing a little more research, and the things that this program encompasses really align with my goals and aspirations, so that is how I got involved with it,” he says.
“The interview process happened last fall during November of 2016,” states Troendle, explaining, “We met up at Land O’ Lakes headquarters, all 11 interns came in, and about a week after, we had been chosen for this internship.” Then the interns got to meet each other and the people they would be working with at Land O’Lakes.
Early in the fellowship
In April 2017, Troendle stated, “The way the program is set up is throughout this spring, it’s our team’s goal to identify the issue that we are going to be working with in terms of a list of possible solutions, and then we show up for an 11-week internship this summer and throughout that internship this summer we will be testing the feasibility of the solution as something that Land O’ Lakes could implement (in the future).
“We are already actively working on developing that problem that we are going to face and figure out possible solutions for that so when we show up this summer we are prepared but we have not made it through that decision making process completely at this point,” Troendle went on to say in April 2017.
The 11 interns were split into three different teams and each team addressed a different issue. “So some of the things we will be doing with that is we will be working at Land O’ Lakes headquarters in the Twin Cities as well as traveling out to local member co-ops to feel out that side of the industry,” commented Troendle in April 2017.
End of internship
Troendle completed his internship with Land O’ Lakes on Thursday, August 24, 2017, after a uniquely enriching and rewarding experience.
During his internship, Troendle was able to experience many things he would not have been able to otherwise, including some very educational trips. The Fillmore County Journal recently communicated with Troendle once again, after completion of his internship.
“We had the opportunity to spend 12 days in Tanzania and South Africa. We started in Tanzania where our focus was learning about small holder farmers in the country, as well as what projects that Land O’ Lakes International Development was working on in country,” says Troendle.
“Growing up on a 200 cow dairy farm right outside of Lanesboro, I was surprised to find each farmer with only one to three cows,” he notes.
“This scale of production provides many problems, but through projects that Land O’ Lakes International Development have worked on, they now have access to a market for their milk as well as artificial insemination resources,” Troendle explains.
“During our time in South Africa, we got to see larger scale production agriculture and learn more about Villa, a crop protection service company recently purchased by Land O’ Lakes. Villa is working with Winfield United (a Land O’ Lakes Inc. company) to learn about United States agriculture and apply it to South Africa,” Troendle states.
Troendle states that being an intern in the Land O’ Lakes, Inc. Global Food Challenge Emerging Leaders for Food Security Program was the experience of a lifetime for him.
“The opportunity to work towards the same goal of making a difference in global food security with peers from across the country was such a big opportunity for growth. This, paired with the travel opportunities to Africa, Washington, D.C. and a local co-op taught me so much about myself, Land O’ Lakes, and agriculture in general,” states Troendle.
“I know that the experiences that I had this summer will be valuable in my future career,” Troendle says.
Lydia Botham, Vice President of Community Relations at the Land O’ Lakes Foundation stated in a press release on December 8, 2016, that “Ag is the greatest industry of our generation and presents many dynamic career opportunities. We need people from different backgrounds to make a difference in feeding the growing global population,” she stated.
“With the world’s population expected to rise to more than 9.7 billion people by 2050, the agriculture industry’s next generation of leaders must come from diverse disciplines and backgrounds to develop sustainable solutions to increase food production by 70%,” Botham adds.
Troendle returned to Iowa State University this fall as he continues to pursue a degree in Agricultural Engineering.
He certainly enjoyed his time spent as an intern at Land O’ Lakes and must have made an impression with his eagerness to develop and improve processes to increase food production as he announces, “I have accepted a return internship offer with Land O’ Lakes for this upcoming summer and will get to experience a different aspect of the company through supply chain,” which will most certainly be another educational experience for this industrious young man.