OMAHA, Neb. – In January, 30 students from across the United State were awarded sponsorships courtesy of CLAAS of America to attend the Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference, which was held in conjunction with the Ag Connect Expo in Kansas City. Of those 30 recipients, one student was chosen to receive an all-expense paid trip to Germany.
The 2013 recipient of the Germany trip was Dylan Smith, a junior in agricultural engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“I have some background in agriculture and working with machinery, plus I really enjoy problem-solving, and those all seemed to fit together in ag engineering,” says Smith.
Smith first learned about the AETC sponsorships at an American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers student meeting at Nebraska. Applicants were chosen based on a number of qualifications, including their essay response to the question, “What do you feel has been the greatest contribution CLAAS has made to the world agricultural industry?”
Following his trip to AETC and Ag Connect, Smith was informed that he was selected to travel to Germany with CLAAS; he was taken aback when he received the news, but was more than excited to jump at the opportunity.
“I had never been to Europe before this and I was excited about going over there and learning more about European agriculture,” says Smith.
Prior to this experience, Smith’s primary exposure to CLAAS machinery was via a former employer that used CLAAS forage harvesters. Smith had worked with CLAAS JAGUAR harvesters, and was excited to see more of the CLAAS product lineup.
The tour featured trips to Amsterdam and Berlin, among the historical and educational sightseeing tours. Smith was also able to capitalize on his interest in agriculture and engineering. While on the tour, he was able to participate in a few driving demos at a farm and jump behind the wheel of CLAAS XERION and ARION tractors.
Smith was impressed with the efficiency and work ethic of the CLAAS employees while touring the headquarters in Harsewinkel, Germany, the parts warehouse and manufacturing facilities.
“I was impressed with the structure of the company. The organization of their manufacturing facilities was top-notch. Also, their checks and balances once the machine is put together was pretty amazing,” says Smith.
According to Smith, he learned the most about the role of CLAAS in the community.
“The thing I really noticed was what they do for the community and providing jobs for people in Harsewinkel and at the other CLAAS facilities,” says Smith.