Latham’s Summer Interns Return to the Classroom

At Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, we believe a summer internship should be mutually beneficial for both the student and our family-owned company. We want our summer interns to set goals for their time with us as they work to complete agreed-upon projects. In addition, we want them to understand how all aspects of our company – from production and sales to marketing and research – are all intertwined.

“I wanted to intern with Latham Seeds because to learn more about the Sales and Agronomy sides of the business. I spent my summers during high school washing hard boxes and pulling weeds,” says Ian Latham, the son of John and Shannon Latham, who founded Latham Hi-Tech Hybrids in 2004. They started doing business as Latham Hi-Tech Seeds in 2009 when they, and John’s brother, Chris, purchased the family’s soybean-only business and brought the two companies together.

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John Latham with interns Ian Latham and Kirsten Suntken.

This fall Ian will be a sophomore at Iowa State University (ISU), majoring in Agricultural Studies with minors in Agronomy and International Ag. He is a member of Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) Fraternity where he is assistant Vice Noble Ruler (VNR) of Recruitment. He is involved in the Agriculture Business Club and the collegiate Iowa Corn Growers Association. He also was selected to serve as an ambassador for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).

“Agronomy is one of my college minors, so it was really cool to participate in sales training related to seed product research and testing. I got to attend company meetings and sales training sessions. I also got to help recruit new dealers, primarily in North Central Iowa.”

One highlight of Ian’s summer included watching his dad preside over the American Seed Trade Association’s (ASTA) annual Policy Leadership Development Conference (PLDC), in Washington, D.C.

Ian also really enjoyed participating in product training led by Bob Foley, which also was a highlight for Kirsten Suntken. Kirsten served this summer as a Precision Agronomy intern for Latham Seeds. Other highlights of her summer internship included helping Latham’s Precision Agronomist Phil Long develop the company’s new Premier Agronomy Center at Latham’s headquarters in Alexander, Iowa. Because her college classes were online in the spring, she was able to spend more time working outside. As a result, Kirsten was able to be involved in everything from planting research plots to scouting fields throughout the growing season.

“My favorite part of my internship was the people I worked with, and I’m going to miss everyone,” said Kirsten. “I learned so much. I told Phil that I wanted to do a little bit of everything, so I could learn as much as possible. I was able to apply what I’ve learned in the classroom to my job at Latham Seeds. I also will be able to take what I learned this summer and apply it in the classroom.”

Kirsten’s summer was especially exciting as she was crowned Franklin County Fair Queen, and this week she is participating in the Iowa State Fair Queen Contest. She also served as the 2019 Franklin County Beef Queen. After the pageantry is complete, Kirsten will return to Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny where she is majoring in Ag Business.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we didn’t send off our interns with one of Latham Seeds’ customary potlucks. It’s likely Kirsten would have brought Grape Salad with Irish Twist, which is a recipe her mom shared recently on our blog. Click here to find a link to Kirsten’s favorite recipe for pot roast in a crockpot. One of Ian’s favorite meals when he was growing up was Spaghetti Pie, so we’re sharing that recipe today on “The Field Position.”

Spaghetti in a Pie


Pie Shell Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of spaghetti
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ c. chopped onion (optional)
  • 15.5-ounce jar of Prego® spaghetti sauce


  1. Grease or use cooking spray to coat a deep glass pie plate or square Pyrex® pan.
  2. Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain.
  3. Stir in butter, Parmesan and eggs into spaghetti. Form mixture into “crust,” and cook uncovered in microwave (80 to 90% power) for 2 to 3 minutes or until set.
  4. Meanwhile, brown beef with onion. Drain beef and stir in spaghetti sauce; simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Next, take crust from the microwave. Spread cottage cheese over crust. Then top with sauce mixture.
  6. Cover pie plate and microwave for 6 to 7 minutes. Top with mozzarella; microwave for 1 more minute.
  7. Let stand 8 to 10 minutes before serving.