Students focusing on plant science and agriculture at Hillyard Technical Center paid a visit to LifeLine Foods on Friday, where they received a rather unique tour through the company’s factory as part of a special Ag Immersion Day.

One group of students toured a control room on one of the factory’s top floors while the others were given a brief history of LifeLine Foods as well as samples of the corn products to examine. The groups switched off halfway through the visit, allowing each student to get a more in-depth look at the operations.

“How many of these kids actually see a cornfield and know what happens there?” Daniel Kahre, an agriculture science teacher with Hillyard Technical Center, said. “When they get to see exactly what this town does, the agriculture that’s in it and the strength of that agriculture, it’s amazing. We have so much ag in this community, and it’s not just growing things, it’s breaking them down and making different products.”

Kahre said he was especially impressed with the number of trucks and corn that moves through the facility on a daily basis.

And for Benton senior Mason Bragg, who is studying plant science at Hillyard, the experience was not only unique, but informative.

“I learned how they are more efficient with monitoring their machines, how much they produce in a day and how much grain they have to haul in a day. It was cool seeing all of the machines in there and just what all is going on,” Bragg said.

He went on to say that days like these can help him and his fellow students identify potential careers in the future as they receive more in-depth looks at the operations of various companies.

And according to LifeLine’s Vice President of Regulatory Compliance Mike Sobetski, who led the tour through the factory, showing the opportunities that are available to students is one of the biggest benefits to partnering with local schools.

“Our goal today was to really inspire tomorrow’s leaders,” Sobetski said. “We have a lot of things that go on here LifeLine foods that a lot of people just don’t realize or recognize. This is an opportunity for us to showcase what we do here and inspire today’s students, which will be tomorrow’s leaders in agriculture.”

Following their visit to LifeLine Foods, students returned to Hillyard to go over goal-setting exercises as well as a reflection assignment related to their trip. A representative from Northwest Missouri State University also was on hand to talk with them about ag opportunities at the college level, as well as opportunities available to them after they graduate from high school.

Daniel Cobb can be reached


Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowCobb.