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Ag student utilizes data-driven technology during internship

Ag student utilizes data-driven technology during internship

GOTHENBURG, NE - An internship Zach Kolbo completed through Northeast Community College will give him an edge on his future. Combining computer imagery with hands-on work in the field, Kolbo’s internship has provided him with valuable work experience.

Kolbo is a product of Gothenburg. He grew up in town, but his middle school and high school years were spent working on the farm, “Twenty-four, seven,” as he said. His goal of obtaining a degree in agronomy has been shaped in large part by those years. Kolbo’s internship between his first and second years at Northeast will further help him reach his goal.

While searching for an internship placement, he ran across a program offered through Farmers Edge. After sending in his application, he was pleased to receive a request for an interview the next day, and was ultimately placed with the company.

A Canadian-based company, Farmers Edge expanded its territory into the United States approximately three years ago. The company’s client success managers utilize field-centric data, daily satellite imagery, easy-to-use software, predictive modeling, digital agronomy and advanced analytics to transform the resulting information into valuable directives for its customers.

Each day, Kolbo found himself either collecting and searching computer-based data to locate and verify problems, or scouting fields for customers.

“We don’t sell products,” Kolbo said. “We locate any issues the grower is facing, and are able to tell them what the problems and solutions are without stepping on their property.”

These issues include such things as rectifying inadequate moisture or nitrogen levels, thereby increasing production for growers, “so they can try to do more with less,” Kolbo said.

“We wow them,” Kolbo continued, “with how far we can get with the computer before we step into their fields.”

Kolbo’s increased efficiency in the use of such data-driven technology gives him a good jump start for future plans.

Kolbo, who describes himself as a hands-on learner, said of his internship and Northeast Community College, “I took what I knew and my on-farm experience, and am advancing it, broadening my knowledge on ag in general.”