Full-Time in the Classroom to Full-Time in the Field

I know a full-time job during college can be a daunting task for most individuals. I believe the most difficult part of having a full time job in college is planning and time allocation to do homework, have a social life, and sleep.

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-9-55-40-pmDuring my college career I have had a full-time position at a production farm here McDonough County. From planting to anhydrous application I have experienced how a production farm operates. Before this I grew up on a  production farm in Ogle County. Doing all of the same tasks while being a full-time Agriculture Business Major with a  Agronomy Minor.

The positions I have at the farm allow me to make the connection from the classroom to the real world such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Accounting, and Disease Management.

Integrated Pest Management or IPM, that most of the students and farmers have started to call it, is a very important system that producers use to handle problem pests such as weeds, insects and diseases. This course is offered at Western Illinois University taught by Dr. Bernards. Within the course Dr. Bernards identifies practices and techniques needed to be successful on the farm from an IPM standpoint. Making that connection back to the farm, I used this knowledge to apply herbicide to acres that had weed problems. For example, if you spray weeds that are taller than the length of your pinky you have a significantly harder time killing the weed.

Accounting. I have a feeling that most of the readers think that I am confused about my classes but accounting has a large effect on production in agriculture due to having to create not only financial budgets, but nutrient budgets as well. Nutrient budgets are quantities of nutrients that are in the soil at a given time. After a crop has been harvested the soil nutrients have been reduced, or in the classroom sense, sold. We have to replenish those sold nutrients in the field to keep the balance of a healthy soil. Taking this knowledge back to the farm. Anhydrous, Potash, and lime application are critical to keeping that soil healthy and nutrient rich for the crop for next growing season. The budgeting comes in when the crop is removed and a value is calculated using the amount of grain taken off of the land and the amount of trash (leaf matter or stalk matter) left on the field’s surface. Using that value, we calculate how much fertilizer to put on after a crop.

Disease Management. 2016 was a rough year in Central Illinois for disease damage. Due to a wet July and August, diplodia ravaged a majority of the corn on corn acres. Going back to the classroom, in Dr. Bernards’ disease course we discussed what diplodia does to the kernels and how it can affect yield. But what we did not discuss is the financial costs of diplodia on a farmers corn yield. Going back to the farmer side, diplodia can ruin a farmers crop to the point where the farmer can lose an entire crop to just damaged corn.

A job in the field of which you are studying can greatly increase your understanding of the subject in which you are trying to learn. Without my current position on Ruebush Farms I would not have made the mental connection from the classroom to the real world. If more students would make that connection we could have a higher subject retention and understanding of material that takes students into the job market.





Hello! My name is Tyler Vogeler. I am currently a senior at Western Illinois University studying the field of Agricultural Business and Minoring in Agronomy. I grew up on a small production farm in Esmond, IL, which is half an hour west of DeKalb, IL. I have always had a passion for education and working.

Thank you for reading my blog!


One thought on “Full-Time in the Classroom to Full-Time in the Field

  1. jpe100

    Thank you for your blog post Tyler. I know several of my friends and I have been through this situation and it is pretty cool to use the tools you learned in class on the farm and sometimes within the same day.


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