When Staplcotn invested the cost of a Washington D.C. internship in Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College student Mitchel Sheffield in 2018, the company never thought about that investment paying off in a future employee. But it did.
Sheffield, a Donalsonville native, began work recently as a Staplcotn Cotton Specialist I based in Albany with a sales territory sweeping across South Georgia.
“We are very pleased that for the first time we have a new hire who actually participated in our internship program,” Shane Stephens, Vice President of Cotton Services and Warehousing, said. “While attending ABAC, Mitchel gained valuable experience serving as a Washington D.C. intern for Georgia Senator David Perdue under the Staplcotn sponsored program.”
Sheffield graduated from ABAC in December 2019 with his bachelor’s degree in agriculture with an emphasis in crop and soil sciences. He believes the Staplcotn connection might have played a part in his job offer.
“It wasn’t like I was working for Staplcotn while in Washington D.C., but it did establish a connection between myself and the company,” Sheffield said. “As a part of the internship, the company paid for my room, board, and the transportation. I guess they got a return on their investment.”
Stephens believes that investment will pay dividends into the future.
“Mitchel has the personality and work ethic to ensure success, and ABAC certainly played a substantial role in preparing him for this position,” Stephens said. “One of the cooperative’s most valuable assets that it offers to its farmer-owners is exceptional service through sound communication, responsiveness, professionalism, and the cotton specialist’s overall dedication to the relationship.”
Stephens said that Sheffield’s job will be to recruit, retain, and service grower/member accounts as well as execute marketing agreements and option notices among other duties.
“Mitchel and his growers will be communicating often as he will have to submit weather reports, yield reports, and conduct crop inspections for recording and updating yield reports as the crops progress,” Stephens said.
Sheffield is ready to put into practice the education he received in the ABAC classrooms.
“I know the classes I took at ABAC will benefit me in this role,” Sheffield said. “But a lot of what I learned at ABAC such as working on resumes, doing interviews, and how to act in a professional manner helped me to get the job.
“Being an ABAC Ambassador really helped. The Ambassador program allows you to create some connections. Plus, you get to work with a group of top-notch students. That helped me to be a better student and achieve as much as I could.”
Dr. Deidre Martin, ABAC’s Chief Development Officer, said Staplcotn has been a solid partner for ABAC by funding the ABAC/Staplcotn Congressional Internship.
“Through the work of Dr. Darby Sewell, we developed a comprehensive vetting process to ensure the best ABAC students can participate in the experience,” Martin said. “Dr. Sewell and I have worked together to ensure Staplcotn has had the opportunity to stay engaged with ABAC and our students throughout the process.
“We are so proud of Mitchel, and we appreciate Staplcotn hiring one of our graduates. Their relationship with ABAC is one that we treasure.”
Sheffield is undergoing training this month at the Staplcotn home office in Greenwood, Miss.