As a high school senior, Allison (Stiens) Allan knew she wanted to eventually work in the agriculture industry. When it came to finding the correct college fit, Allan had a couple different options – but an impactful visit to the University of Missouri sealed the deal.
Allan chose the agribusiness management degree program after meeting with Joe Parcell, director of the Division of Applied Social Sciences, and Jill Moreland, program director and advisor chair of agricultural and applied economics.
“I wanted to do something that allowed me to keep my options open, but I’ve always enjoyed sales,” Allan said. “I love meeting new people and creating new relationships – I’m a very talkative person. I felt like agribusiness management would be a good fit all the way around.”
The degree program provided Allan numerous opportunities to challenge herself, and it helped her connect with Corteva Agriscience for an internship. That internship eventually led to a full-time position with Corteva, and Allan now serves as a territory manager in the Boise, Idaho area.
“Each day brings something new, which is why I enjoy my job so much,” Allan said. “As a territory manager, I’m a sales representative for our portfolio of products that are used on crops to fight pests. I promote and sell my portfolio, which includes multiple herbicides, fungicides, nematicides and insecticides. My focus is on business-to-business sales – I don’t call directly on the farmer, I call on retailers.”
While Allan didn’t grow up on a farm, she said she loved the agriculture space and the people involved in it. Allan gets to interact with those type of individuals on a daily basis now.
“It’s exciting for me because I get to work with my customers to make sure they’re ready for the upcoming year,” Allan said. “When the planting season hits, I’m out and about driving around, making agronomic recommendations and meeting with customers to help them with their needs.”
Allan gets to work with a diverse group of crops, vegetables and fruits from eastern Oregon to western Idaho, including onions, potatoes, sugar beets, wheat, corn, alfalfa, mint, beans, apples and cherries.
“There was a steep learning curve, especially when compared to what we grow in Missouri,” Allan said. “Everything over here is irrigated as well – you don’t plant and wait for rain. If you don’t water your crop, it doesn’t grow. It’s a whole different deal.”
Allan completed two internships with Corteva before taking the full-time gig. One took place the summer after her sophomore year, the other the summer after her junior year. Both opportunities were in sales, as Allan spent time in Missouri and Illinois.
To go along with her internship, Allan was a member of Sigma Alpha while at MU, as well as the Agribusiness Club, Mizzou Collegiate Farm Bureau and Agriculture Future of America. She also worked in the agribusiness management office with Parcell and Moreland.
“I was introduced to so many great people through Sigma Alpha and each of the other organizations that I was a part of,” said Allen, who grew up in Maryville, Mo. “Those experiences allowed me to travel across the U.S. where I was able to meet people from all over who had similar interests.
“Working in the agribusiness management office was also very rewarding. I found some great mentors who really helped with my transition to such a big university. It ended up being a home away from home. I grew close to a lot of people in that office – so much so that two individuals ended up being bridesmaids in my wedding.”
Allan earned her degree in December 2018 and went to work with Corteva as an associate territory manager a few weeks later. That role was focused on training her for her future in the company.
“I was part of their training program,” Allan said. “Think of it like being on the bench; the training program allowed me to practice and prepare for the future. When a territory opened up, I was ready to go and could move right into that role.”
Allan moved to Oregon right out of college for her training. She covered a portion of Oregon and Washington as a trainee.
“I moved to a town that I had never even heard of,” Allan said. “It was an interesting experience. If you want to learn about yourself, moving across the country is a way to do that. I grew a lot professionally and personally.”
After briefly moving to Illinois to finish her training program, there was an opening in Idaho, where Allan is currently stationed.
Allan said she is glad that she challenged herself during her time at MU, as it has paid off in her job with Corteva.
“Being challenged in class really helps develop those problem-solving skills, even the basic skills that you don’t think you’ll use later,” Allan said. “My time in the agribusiness management degree program really helped make my jump to industry very smooth. No matter what career path you decide to take, you’ll be expected to think on your feet and be a problem solver to come up with solutions. I was prepared, and I’m so thankful for that.”