UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Name: Matt Kortbein
Hometown: Tomah, Wis.
Position: Pioneer Sales Professional, Pioneer Hybrid Seed Company of Corteva Agriscience
Major: Crop and Soil Science
Matt Kortbein’s roots in agriculture run deep. The Tomah native grew up on a farm and always knew that he’d have a career in the industry. Prior to attending college, Matt spent a year serving as state FFA treasurer. During that time, he had the opportunity to visit several college campuses across the state.
“When I came up to visit UW-River Falls, it really fit,” he says. “I felt at home here. I liked the professors and the curriculum that they offered, and I liked the town.”
Once on campus, he hit the ground running. Matt has held offices with the Collegiate Farm Bureau and Crops and Soils clubs. He was also a coordinator of the annual Ag Day on campus.
"During this event, it is our goal to allow students and community members to see firsthand the wide array of products and services agriculture gives to us each and every day,” he explains. “We hope attendees will be able to leave our event with a newfound viewpoint for the occupations in agriculture and the technology that goes into producing our food, fuel and clothing."
Matt also took advantage of the many opportunities UWRF has to put classroom learning to practical use. He was a member of the both the crop and soil judging teams and has traveled the country to events held by the National Students of Agronomy, Soils and Environmental Sciences.
“From the time I was a freshman, I was able to get involved in so many organizations and judging teams and other groups on campus,” he says. “It has allowed me to get experience outside the classroom. The hands-on activities have complemented the classroom so well.”
Matt leveraged the mock interview and resume workshops offered by Career Services and
has built an impressive resume during his time on campus. It caught the attention of Pioneer at the Career Fair and he landed an internship for the summer of his junior year. During that internship, he further sharpened his agronomy skills and also learned about the marketing and sales side of the company. He left that summer with a post-graduation job offer in hand.
“What I learned in my classes and what I learned through extracurricular activities such as field trips or experiences with judging teams made me more well-rounded and gave me a better understanding of the things I needed to know as an intern and especially now going into full-time work,” he says.
He’s excited to get to work after he graduates May 11. He’ll be managing a territory that covers Jackson, Monroe and La Crosse counties. He’s very optimistic about the future of the agricultural industry.
“It can be a little intimidating to come into the industry at a time like this, but we have a lot of great farmers that really know their stuff,” he says. “In today’s world we have more resources at our fingertips than we’ve ever had before. We have opportunities to be more efficient and bring our A game every day. Not that we weren’t doing that before, but we just have more tools in our toolbox now.”
Looking back on his four years at UW-River Falls, Matt encourages students to get involved in clubs and activities on campus.
“Your classes and curriculum give you a great foundation, but clubs and things like judging teams enhance your experience,” he explains. “UW-River Falls has opportunities for you, for as much as you want to get involved. No matter what your interest, there’s something here for you.”