By Christina Rice

Graham residents Kevin and Michelle Rosenbohm welcomed their second intern from Ireland this fall.

Stephen Robb takes a break from harvest. Photo submitted by Stephen Robb.

In 2010, Kevin was invited to speak at the Irish Tillage Land Use Society Conference about the use of genetically modified grain (GMO). The Rosenbohms own Graham Seed, Graham, where they have dealt with GMOs since Roundup® ready seed became available in 1997. GMO crops have not been grown in Ireland yet.

Through the conference, Kevin became acquainted with Andy Doyle, tillage editor for the Irish Farm Journal, Ireland’s largest newspaper. About three times a year, Kevin writes articles for the journal about agriculture in Nodaway County.

Kevin worked with Doyle and created an internship for collegiate agriculture students in Ireland, allowing them to get hands-on experience with agriculture in Missouri.

This year, the second intern, Stephen Robb, was awarded the internship. Robb’s hometown, Donegal, is on the northern tip of Ireland. His family farms approximately 900 acres. Common crops in the area are winter wheat, oats, barley and potatoes. They do not have corn or soybean production in the country.

Robb attended the University of Dublin where he majored in food and agribusiness management, focusing on marketing media and creating the agricultural radio show “Keeping it County,” which is still airing today.

From there he earned his master’s from Teagasc Agriculture and Food Development Authority, which specializes in research with centers all over Ireland. While there, Robb focused his research on bio-energy.

He graduated in May and began writing for the Irish Farm Journal until coming to Missouri in the fall to begin his internship. Robb stated he wanted to come to the United States to learn about its agribusiness industry.

“I was pretty interested in how things work over here. You know you see things on television, you see things on the news and whatnot back home, but until you’re really here, you can’t really get a proper grasp of it,” Robb said.

While here, Robb observed harvest and learned about seed production, genetics, new genetic varieties, GMO management, equipment and more. He interacted with the community, traveled, networked and made connections, getting exposure to all aspects of the agriculture industry in Northwest Missouri.

“Everything has been vastly different. I didn’t really know what to expect, but at the same time, it’s nothing like I expected,” Robb stated.

Robb said he enjoyed the experience and was glad to have the opportunity. When he returns to Ireland, he will continue writing for the Irish Farm Journal, including articles on his experiences in Missouri. He wants to come back in the future and visit other parts of the United States to increase his knowledge.