Sydney Ollendick is an Agribusiness Economics & Management student, Summer 2018 Sydney embarked on an internship, below is her Student Spotlight, in her own words. The AREC Dept congratulates Sydney on obtaining this internship and choosing to go above and beyond her degree requirements. All photos are used with Sydney's permission.
This summer I was given the pleasure to work at Riverview, LLP, a diversified agribusiness, as an accounting intern. Located in Morris, Minnesota, Riverview began as a family-owned beef and crop farm but has since grown into a multifaceted organization. The transition into the dairy industry began in 1995 with a double-24 parallel parlor. Since then, it has continued to adapt into an integrated operation in the dairy, beef feedlot, agronomy, and construction sectors. Today, the company is predominantly owned by company employees who continue the values that Riverview had instilled when they first began, “Providing a culture of opportunity for passionate people and innovative ideas”. My ten-week internship program began with a twelve-hour training day at the main office located where the other interns and myself completed safety, animal welfare, “advocate for ag”, and business operation trainings. The other interns were not all under the accounting department. Riverview finds interns to fit not only the company culture but their other sectors in the following areas through their interests: agricultural communication, agricultural education, agricultural construction, beef feedlot (Wulf Cattle), calf ranch, crop production, dairy production, human resources, and operations/maintenance. Each of these internship areas are located in various locations that the particular sector is stationed out of: Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, or Arizona.
During my time at the main office in Morris, I worked with the accounting team completing numerous projects/assignments such as accounts payables, accounts receivables, adding assets, cost of production, projections, and much more. One of the most memorable projects was being a part of a new accounting software implementation team. During that project I was responsible for becoming familiar with the software, set up multiple trainings for employees to attend, and creating a training manual for anyone to reference. Each week, the interns had an hour time slot to work with a Spanish teacher to help us become bi-lingual so communicating with employees who were learning English as a second language easier.
I was also given the chance to travel to different dairy sites such as the one located in Veblen, South Dakota known as Marshall Dairy. The dairy is split into two sites that are located the opposite ends of town containing under 20,000 head with approximately 16,200 milking cows. Marshall East is the largest of the two holding just under 11,000 head of dairy cows. Currently, there are over nine dairy sites running but there are more coming within the next few years which just shows you how committed the company is in growing with the growth of the dairy industry.
Besides being in the office, the interns received multiple opportunities to travel to other sites as a group to learn how other portions of the operations work such as our calf and construction sites. Those moments allowed the corresponding intern to present how their work influenced the company as a whole whether it was feeding calves at Moore or taking measurements at a dairy build site. Another fun area that interns were able to participate in was the annual soccer tournament, Copa de Riverview. I was lucky enough to be included as a player for the office women’s team which allowed me to feel a part of the family while being so far from home.
My education here at the University of Arizona had greatly influenced my work that I accomplished at Riverview. The BNAD and accounting courses that I have completed helped create the base knowledge to be efficient and successful in any task that was assigned. I never would have thought it at the time but my Spanish courses taken at the University influenced my ability to communicate with those whose English is still a work in progress no matter where I was.
Overall, the internship with Riverview was a chance of a lifetime and I could not be happier of the experiences I received as well as the friendships that I made while I was there. The town as well as the company are truly something special; I would highly recommend to anyone who is interested in being a part of such a vast agribusiness. Moving over 1,000 miles from home might seem like a scary choice but Caroline Myss said it best, “Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to help you grow”.