Lake Land College ag students receive $25,000 from Pfister Seeds for business start-up
Three Lake Land College Agriculture Business majors have been chosen to receive $25,000 each from Pfister Seeds, LLC, a rapidly growing seed company based in Champaign, as part of a business start-up initiative recently established by the company.
“Our goal was to find students with an entrepreneurial spirit who had the desire to stay on the farm,” explained Blake Noland, college recruitment lead for Pfister. “The funding will allow these students to purchase the resources necessary to begin their own seed sales business.”
The three students – Josie Fruhling, St. Joseph; Brennen Diessen, Pocahontas; and William Klinger, Clay City – all agree that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I feel very fortunate to have been chosen as a recipient of the start-up funding,” said Klinger. “I will most likely purchase a truck with a portion of the funding, which will provide me with reliable transportation to visit my customers.”
The three students were originally introduced to Pfister as part of their Lake Land College course requirements. Students studying Agriculture Business are placed in a Supervised Occupational Experience (SOE), where they complete an internship in order to gain real-world experience in their field of study.
Fruhling, Diessen and Klinger completed their SOE with Pfister from March to July of this year. For the SOE, the students established a customer base near their hometowns, sold seed corn to their customers and followed up with them throughout the growing season.
According to Diessen, participating in the SOE was a great experience because he not only got to practice his sales skills and develop a network of customers, but he also experienced the challenges many farmers and seed dealers face throughout the growing season. Specific to this year, was the excessive amount of rain that troubled many Midwestern farmers.
“It was an interesting year to get my feet wet in the business with all of the rain,” said Diessen. “But, it was great experience because that’s part of the business, too.”
Nearly 20 students at Lake Land College were interviewed by Pfister to receive the business start-up funding. According to Darren Lewis, Pfister representative, Fruhling, Diessen and Klinger stood out from the rest.
“These kids have the personality and skillset we’re looking for,” said Lewis. We were strategic when deciding to come to Lake Land to interview the students because it’s one of the best junior colleges in the state, and we’re proud to build this partnership.”
The funding will be distributed to each student over a three-year period. The first installment was in the amount of $12,000; during the second year the students will receive $8,000; and in the third year, they will receive $5,000. Pfister Seeds will also assist the students with starting their businesses, offering guidance for business and financial management.
To learn more about the Lake Land College Agriculture Division, visit: www.lakeland.cc.il.us/as/as/academicprograms/programs.
About Pfister Seeds: Pfister Seeds LLC, a Dow AgroSciences affiliate based in Illinois, believes farming should be fun, and success comes from growing together. It’s about being part of a community, while getting the technology and seed you need. To learn more about the Pfister experience, visit www.pfisterseeds.com.
Cutline: Pictured from left are Josh Bullock, Lake Land College president; Darren Lewis, Pfister representative; William Klinger, Agriculture Business major, Clay City; Josie Fruhling, Agriculture Business major, St. Joseph; Brennen Diessen, Agriculture Business major, Pocahontas; Blake Noland, college recruitment lead for Pfister and Jon Althaus, agriculture division chair for Lake Land College.