Carly Weaver has always had a head for business.
When she was 13 she turned a University of Idaho Extension 4-H dairy heifer project from a break-even endeavor into a $1,500 profit. That experience sparked a love for business. Combined with her background in agriculture, Weaver is now on the path to a promising marketing career.
The Power of Marketing
Weaver and her older sister couldn’t have predicted the dairy market would have dipped when they decided to participate in the 4-H dairy heifer project. When it came time to sell the heifers at the county fair, Weaver knew odds of a profit were slim.
“We knew that we were going to barely breakeven because the market was so bad,” Weaver said. “So, we sent out add-on letters. Everyone can send these out, but usually you just get $20 from grandma and $25 from your neighbor, that kind of thing.”
Weaver and her sister took things one step further and ended up sending over 200 letters to relatives and local businesses in Star, their hometown in southwest Idaho. The letters are an opportunity for 4-H youth to tell potential buyers about themselves, ask for donations to the project, and invite them to the fair and livestock auction.
“We went everywhere,” Weaver said. “In our little black wranglers and our white button-up shirts and our belt buckles and we went and raised $3,000 to split.”
Tying it Together
That entrepreneurial spirit stuck with Weaver when it came time for college. She enrolled in U of I’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and majored in agribusiness with minors in entrepreneurship, business and marketing. She will graduate in May 2019 and plans to pursue a career in marketing for a food agribusiness company.
An internship with Glanbia Nutritionals in summer 2018 helped Weaver tie together what she was learning in the classroom and also reinforced her desire to work in food agribusiness.
Weaver worked as a procurement intern at Glanbia’s Twin Falls location. She oversaw projects and was responsible for helping get suppliers set up in the company’s purchasing system, assisting IT in making the system more user-friendly and meeting with potential suppliers.
“I had several projects, so I was kind of all over the place day-to-day,” Weaver said. “I worked a lot with IT and quality to make sure they had all the food regulatory documents in line that ensures the ingredients and other inputs are food grade.”
While the internship wasn’t marketing focused, Weaver did appreciate the opportunity to learn more about different aspects of a large business.
“It was good practice to be in business operations, piecing everything I’m learning up here at school together in a linear way,” Weaver said. “Being on the purchasing side was cool as someone who is in marketing because now I have been in the customer’s shoes and have more insight to what they are looking for.”
For Weaver, the internship experience provided valuable connections and experience that she would encourage all students to participate in.
“I think that everyone should do an internship,” Weaver said. “Getting one internship under your belt before you graduate is priceless because it really does help tie it all together and prepare you for when it is time to get a full-time role after graduation.”
A Career in Agribusiness
Weaver plans to apply to marketing and public relations positions in the food and agriculture industry as she nears graduation. She’s passionate about the Pacific Northwest region but is considering applying in other regions and internationally.
“I liked learning about business-to-business relations during my internship, but I think I enjoy the creativity and market awareness that business-to-customer relations require,” Weaver said. “There are plenty of companies that have a mix of wholesale and retail, but I like the marketing with consumer touches and interactions.”
No matter where she ends up, one thing is certain. A career in agribusiness is the right choice for her.
“I think businesses can do some pretty cool things and whatever they are selling or doing hopefully makes customers’ lives better,” Weaver said. “I also like the teamwork aspect that companies use to work towards the business’s objectives and how they tie all the work back to company values.”
Article by Amy Calabretta, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Published in October 2018