"Sales? I don't really want to be a Salesman." I can remember using these words in a conversation with a trusted adviser my senior year of college. For some reason the notion of being a Salesman carried this persona of someone that nobody wants around and someone who has to trick their customers into buying from them. But this could not be further from the truth! Turns out I had no idea what agricultural sales was all about and how important this role is to farmers and agribusiness as an industry. Now that I have spent eight years working with customers as a grain & feed merchandiser and manager, I now know that good sales associates serve as brand managers for the companies they represent and trusted advisers for their customers. With heavy demands on the time of farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness managers, these individuals rely heavily on the sales representatives that call upon them. A successful long term bond often ends up becoming more of a business partnership than the "cold calling" salesman image I once had in college. Hopefully that helps put the profession into perspective for you.

When I was a nine year old 4-H member my dad convinced me that I needed to learn how to judge livestock. He seemed convinced it was my only chance of playing a college "sport". Turns out he was right, but what I got out of livestock judging was so much more than that.

My 4-H club didn't have a judging team so dad got me connected with another club to learn the art of evaluating livestock. I think I went to a total of two "workouts" before the one and only contest of the year at the Santa Rosa Jr College. I had been around livestock my whole life but still mostly just followed the "bigger is better" judging philosophy. Although one piece of wisdom from my coach that still sticks to this day is that I wanted a market hog to look like an ice cream cone, meaning narrow up front (base of the cone) and wide at the hams (ice cream). Not sure if that was ever good advice but I never forgot it!

So you've gone through the process of applying for jobs you are interested in, interviewing for those jobs, and CONGRATULATIONS, you received an offer! Bad news is you have since decided that this particular job is not the right one for you. What do you do?

Even though you are turning down the job right now, you definitely do NOT want to burn a bridge. Especially not in this close-knit industry of agriculture. You never know when your paths will cross again and we at AgGrad believe that maintaining quality relationships will be one of your greatest assets throughout your career.

So how do you turn down the job offer but leave that bridge intact?