Agronomy in Action
Emmily Magallanes learned two of the most important aspects of being an agronomist this summer — patience and attention to detail. The University of Idaho sophomore interned with Cargill in Idaho Falls as an agronomy assistant, learning what it takes to be an agronomist.
Magallanes worked with two agronomists in canola seed production, checking fields at various locations for soil moisture and pest issues, stand counts and making sure seeds were germinating.
“Even though I had never worked with canola, they were really patient with me,” she said. “It’s such a unique plant that kind of amazed me.”
During one field inspection, the agronomist Magallanes was assisting to find a nutrient imbalance the grower had noticed in his crop recognized the issue as soon as they arrived.
“I didn’t see it until I looked closer,” she said. “It was kind of cool to see that. They showed me and explained why this would happen. I think that part is going to help me a lot because every little detail matters.”
Magallanes was eventually sent out to inspect fields on her own, walking each field lengthwise multiple times to ensure that the field was growing evenly, taking pictures and reporting back her observations.
The time spent patiently inspecting fields gave Magallanes a chance to develop skills and reinforced her career goals.
“My internship completed my goal to see if I really wanted to be an agronomist. I definitely enjoyed being an agronomist for the summer,” she said. “I like that I can be outside. That not every day is the same. Yesterday won’t be today and today won’t be tomorrow.”
Magallanes grew up in Saint Anthony going to work with her dad at a local farm. In high school she started working during barley and potato harvest and her love for agriculture began to grow.
“I remember the first year I started working in barley harvest and potato harvest, I had a lot of fun and was curious about how all these things came to be and how you could distinguish seed from actual product,” she said.
After reflecting on her likes and dislikes, she realized that agriculture was the right path for her, and she decided to pursue a degree in crop science. She wasn’t familiar with U of I and had never been to campus but decided to attend UIdaho Bound through CAMP (College Assistance Migrant Program) the summer after high school graduation.
It was exactly what I was looking for in a campus and it was a pro that U of I has a really good agriculture program. I felt like I belonged here, even before I started school here.
“I just fell in love with the campus,” she said. “It was exactly what I was looking for in a campus and it was a pro that U of I has a really good agriculture program. I felt like I belonged here, even before I started school here.”
As a first-generation college student, making the transition from high school to college was challenging, but the CAMP staff helped ease the move.
“U of I is really welcoming,” she said. “Everybody describes U of I as a family, and they’re not wrong. You have all these resources and people that want to know about you and how you’re doing. Transitioning from high school to college is hard and especially if you’re a first-generation student and have no college experience or no one to guide you. CAMP really helped with the transition and being away from home.”
Article by Amy Calabretta, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Photos provided by Emmily Magallanes
Published in September 2022