How My Midwest Roots Have Shaped My Career

Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Bayer CropScience - Women in Agriculture Blog Post Series

By: Kayla Nielsen, Bayer CropScience CELP Member  

I grew up in a small farming community in Northeast Iowa, a place where agriculture represents the largest employment sector. While I did not grow up on a farm, my father worked as a member of a large corn and soybean operation a few miles from our home. As a child, my dad would bring me along on combine rides and crop scouting drives; and when I reached my teenage years, I was “strongly encouraged” to join a detasseling crew so I could gain experience working in the field. I remember waiting up for my dad during planting and harvest season, where it is typical for a farmer to work 18-hour days. His strong work ethic and acceptance of uncontrollable elements are two characteristics I highly respect and strive for in every role I fulfill.

When it came time to go to college and choose a path that would shape my future career, I did not initially choose agriculture. My interest in working with people and curiosity for human behavior led me to pursue a degree in psychology. Although I enjoyed my classes and conducting studies as a research lab assistant, I realized this career path was missing something. This is when I decided to pursue a MBA to equip myself with a variety of business and management skills. It was during a business ethics course addressing the topic of corporate social responsibility that I realized how essential it was for me to work for a company whose mission I support. When the opportunity to apply for the Commercial Excellence Leadership Program presented itself, I instantly recognized Bayer CropScience as a company I could enthusiastically support – as a provider of innovative solutions for farmers like my father and his co-workers, who take on the challenge of meeting the world’s need for food and fuel.

My background of growing up in a farming community significantly supplements my position at Bayer CropScience. I understand the conditions that shape grower decisions and am aware of the relationship dynamics that drive our business with growers. Though I have plenty to learn about the company and the industry, I realize the importance of agriculture and its impact on the nation’s economy, and I want to contribute ideas and actions to further its success. My job also gives me a good reason to call my family and friends in Iowa more often to hear a report on local field conditions or what they think of a Bayer CropScience product. Bayer CropScience is a great place to be; I am proud to be a member of a team of intelligent and creative individuals who possess the drive to meet the needs of growers. Finally, it’s great to work for a company that considers growing up in rural Iowa (and being a Cyclone fan) a good thing!

About Kayla:
Kayla Nielsen, Bayer CropScience CELP MemberKayla Nielsen joined Bayer CropScience in June as a Commercial Management Trainee. Kayla’s first assignment is with the Customer Strategy team establishing the role and responsibilities for a National Channel and Grower Customer Strategist position.

Kayla is a recent graduate of Iowa State University. While enrolled in graduate school, she served as a graduate assistant in the ISU Study Abroad Center where she coordinated marketing and programming efforts and managed a team of undergraduate students. Kayla holds an MBA and B.S. in Psychology, both from Iowa State University.







  • Deb Wallace said:
    10/17/2014 4:17 PM

    Kayla, I enjoyed reading this. I share your admiration for farmers for the same reasons and wouldn't trade growing up on a farm for anything. I have seen many changes in the opportunities for women in agriculture since i graduated from K-State many years ago which is very exciting to me. I agree with you that Bayer CropScience is a great place to be. Welcome to Bayer Kayla!

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