When it came time to choose a career path, Jones, who graduated from Florida A&M University with a major in agribusiness and a minor in agricultural economics, followed her father’s advice and took up the family’s line of work. But instead of tilling the soil, she studied international business and earned an MBA from the University of Missouri—St. Louis. On a typical day at work she uses complex math equations and statistics to calculate crop performance and production capacities globally and in the U.S. She develops reports that production coordinators, regional production leads, crop leads, and production research specialists, among others, use to determine production, supply planning, and operation efficiencies. She then analyzes production trends to ensure that Monsanto’s global production areas and processes are functioning efficiently.
Jones credits MANRRS and the professional arm of the Agriculture Future of America, AFA Alliance, with helping her to achieve her goals. She says that organizations like these and others, such as the National FFA Organization (formerly the Future Farmers of America), help people interested in agriculture develop and achieve their goals, and she notes that the AFA Alliance seeks out young professionals in the agriculture industry. Jones is also active in five affinity groups at Monsanto, including AAIM, or African Americans in Monsanto. The company sponsors internships and co-op opportunities for students from various universities, including HBCUs. Jones recommends that other companies in agribusiness follow Monsanto’s lead and cultivate diversity programs that will attract employees of diverse backgrounds.
“Agriculture is all about supply and demand,â€ Jones says. “Because our society is affected in some form or another by 65% of agriculture-based products and services, there is always going to be a need or service to be filled in that area. There are so many opportunities out there, and I don’t think people tie the two together or they don’t know about it. Whether or not you have an ag-based degree there are ag opportunities in manufacturing, IT, and legal.â€
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