Agriculture Career of the Month, September 2011:
Commodity Merchandiser


ADMEvery day, the 30,000 people of Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) turn crops into renewable products that meet the demands of a growing world. And every month, ADM is proud to provide a glimpse into the wide variety of careers that a college education can prepare you for in the agricultural field.

This month, we take a look at commodity merchandising -- a fast-paced career for business-minded grads.


What's the Job Description?
A Commodity Merchandiser is responsible for buying and selling commodities in the cash market, as well as making and coordinating arrangements for the transportation of the product. Much of a typical day is spent on the telephone, in an office environment that can be hectic, keeping customers aware of current grain market news while buying and selling grain products.

A career as a Commodity Merchandiser with ADM starts out with an intense two-month training curriculum as a Commodity Merchandising Trainee. New employees learn the fundamentals of the business via thorough classroom and on-site learning at corporate headquarters, river terminals, country elevators and processing plants.

ADM's merchandisers trade commodities in domestic and international markets, and have to balance risk management, customer relations, transportation and logistics. Commodity markets are influenced by a myriad of factors from around the world. These include trade policy, supply and demand factors, weather, and transportation costs; ADM's merchandisers' ability to evaluate these changing factors drives the Divisions' profitability.

How Much Can I Make?
An entry-level Commodity Merchandiser will make $45,000 - $55,000 per year.

What's the Career Path Like?
A Merchandiser can advance as high as they desire; upward mobility depends on personal talent, aptitude and willingness to work.  One former merchandiser, now a director at ADM, said that the position allowed him to get a strong understanding of the business from the beginning of his career, and appreciated being involved with something important to the bottom line from the very start – especially because the principles learned in merchandising apply across the whole business.

Another former merchandiser moved up through the ranks in the Trading and Management divisions and became VP. Grads with creativity, an entrepreneurial streak, and a creative and outgoing personality can definitely use this position on the first step to a long career.

What Are the Job Requirements?
In addition to the personality traits looked at above, ideal candidates must be completing a 4-year degree in business or a business-related field, with a GPA of 2.8 or greater. In addition, the on-the-road nature of the job means you should be open to relocation throughout the U.S.

Find out more about working at ADM.

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