The Internships Provide On-Farm Learning Experiences to the Next Generation of Dairy
Seven college students who are pursuing careers in dairy production recently began on-farm internships on progressive dairy farms in Pennsylvania and beyond. The Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania, the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association created the program to provide hands-on, farm-based learning experiences to the next generation of dairy managers in Pennsylvania.
“These summer internships help young dairy producers take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it on a progressive dairy farm,” said Brittany Snyder, Dairy Education Program Manager at the Dairy Excellence Foundation. “They’re being exposed to all aspects of running a profitable dairy operation—from herd health and dairy technology to sustainability and financial management. These are skills and life lessons that are instrumental to their future careers in the dairy industry.”
For eight to 12 weeks throughout the summer, interns gain on-farm experience and participate in discussion boards and monthly calls with assigned mentors and program supervisors. The internships are designed to give students a full understanding of what it takes to run a successful dairy operation and gives dairy farms the chance to share their knowledge with the next generation of dairy.
“The on-farm internship program is a great way for us to bring someone new into our operation who can help provide a fresh perspective in areas of our farm,” said Jared Kurtz of Kurtland Farms, a host farm in this year’s program. “We can also help the interns gain valuable skills and knowledge they can use in the future.”
During the internship, students will conduct a research project that connects to their career interests and benefits their dairy farm’s operation. After researching and analyzing various topics, they will present their findings in August at the conclusion of the program.
Congratulations to the following interns who are participating in the internship program this summer:
- Marie Bryant – Interning at Hetrickdale Farm in Bernville, Pennsylvania
“I’m hoping to get a better understanding of herd health and management this summer. Since my dairy background is somewhat limited, I’m excited to be in an environment where learning new things is encouraged and where I can build my dairy experience.” – Marie Bryant
- Rebecca Burns — Interning at McWilliams Farm in Somersest, Pennsylvania
“Through the on-farm internship, I hope to learn more about reproductive management and calf care. I am excited for a summer full of new experiences and to positively impact my host farm. This program will be valuable to me because I will have the chance to apply what I have learned about dairy farming and share my experience with others at the end of the summer.” –Rebecca Burns
- Stephanie Clouser — Interning at Hameau Farms in Belleville, Pennsylvania
“This summer I have the wonderful opportunity to be the intern dedicated to a grazing farm. Seeing as this is a sustainable operation, I hope to gain valuable information about sustainable farming through grazing practices for dairies. I think this internship will give me valuable experience working with new cows and new people as well as allow me to attain valuable life skills.” – Stephanie Clouser
- Lily Fries — Interning at Schrack Farms in Loganton, Pennsylvania
“This internship opportunity is allowing me to experience dairy farming on a much larger scale. These experiences will benefit my future dreams of managing a dairy farm.” –Lily Fries
- Dominic Mattilio—Interning at Tauer Dairy in Hanska, Minnesota
“I hope to gain a new perspective on how to manage and care for dairy cattle to best harvest their milk in an efficient, sustainable and economical manner.” –Dominic Mattilio
- Paige Miller—Interning at Kurtland Farms in Elverson, Pennsylvania
“This summer I hope to learn more about herd health and nutrition, different calf care practices, and the use of robotic technology. This will help further my dairy experience and deepen my knowledge.” –Paige Miller
- Drew Walton – Interning at a dairy farm in Chester County, Pennsylvania
“I am looking forward to developing new skills related to herd health management and care. I hope to learn more about transition health, lameness, and reproductive management protocols.” –Drew Walton
The Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation, the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association provide $3,000 grants to support the internships during the summer. Students must attend a Pennsylvania university, be a Pennsylvania resident attending an out-of-state school, or be a recently graduated Pennsylvania resident with an interest in dairy production. Host farms may be located within or outside of Pennsylvania, but producers must agree to provide the intern with exposure to all aspects of a successful, progressive dairy operation.