Pollination is a good option for summer

It is 6:45 am. While most students are snug in their beds, enjoying the laziness of summer, junior Delaney Kolb shakes herself awake and prepares herself for a day of hard work out in the corn fields. Last summer, Kolb took a job as a corn pollinator with BASF, The Chemical Company. "I tried to get a better job, but I started looking too late, so I ended up doing corn pollinating," Kolb said. "BASF is the place to be because it’s close and just outside of Ames." Corn pollinating is tough, but many high school students choose it as a summer job because it pays well. The starting wage at BASF is 9 dollars an hour, with a 50 cent raise every year. Flexible hours are also an added plus. "When you start, they give you a schedule, and you mark down the days that you can be there and give it back to the group leaders," Kolb said. Kolb worked 6 days a week last summer, and earned around 2,000 dollars. The job is demanding, however, and takes a hard worker to keep up with it. A typical work day starts at 8:00 am, and can end either as early as noon or as late as 7:00 pm. A lot of the work consists of shoot-bagging, a process that involves putting paper bags over plants to prevent them from cross pollinating in the wind. While this may appear simple, it can be physically draining. "There’s a lot of repetition involved," Kolb said. "Reaching your arms up and down for hours gets really tiring after a while. Putting up and taking down the bags is also really hard when some of the plants are ten feet tall." With so many students looking for jobs in the summer, the job market can get pretty competitive, and it can be hard to find a job in a place of choice. Corn pollinating is hard work, but it has its rewards, and like Kolb said, "It could be a lot worse, I could be scooping horse poop or something."