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 summer internships on progressive dairy farms in Pennsylvania and beyond. The Dairy Excellence Foundation, the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association created the program more than 10 years ago to provide hands-on, farm-based learning experiences to the next generation of dairy managers in Pennsylvania.
“These on-farm internships are one of the best ways for college students to be exposed to all aspects of dairy production. We work carefully to pair interns with host farms to ensure the internship experiences are tailored to each student’s specific career goals,” said Heidi Zimmerman, Events and Programs Coordinator at the Center for Dairy Excellence. “This year, we have interns with a wide range of interests – from food science and dairy processing to genetics and animal nutrition. These internships are a great way to help them solidify their goals and expand on the knowledge they’ve learned in the classroom.”
For eight to 12 weeks throughout the summer, interns gain on-farm experience and participate in discussion boards to network and share their experiences with one another. The internships are designed to give students a full understanding of what it takes to run a successful dairy operation and provides dairy farms with the chance to mentor the next generation of dairy.
“We enjoy being a host farm for interns because we feel it is important to give a student who is interested in agriculture an opportunity to get hands-on experience. We enjoy getting to know students and working with them for the summer,” said Neil Hertzler of Rock Hollow Dairy, LLC, a host farm in this year’s program.
During the internship, students will also 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:
- Caroline Arrowsmith – Interning at Pine Tree Dairy in Marshallville, Ohio
“I am excited to learn about managing a large dairy farm. I’m also looking forward to learning about dairy cattle genetics such as matings and marketing.” – Caroline Arrowsmith
- Nate Brubaker — Interning at a dairy farm in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
“With the research project component of the internship, I am excited to learn about and quantify the environmental impact of this dairy. I am looking forward to discovering areas where the farm can continue to improve in neutralizing any negative environmental consequences it has. Moreover, it will be a great experience in being the lead for a project and working cooperatively with other organizations.” –Nate Brubaker
- Dylan Duncan — Interning at Way-Har Farms in Bernville,
“Through my internship at Way-Har Farms, I’m hoping to improve my knowledge of cow care as well as learn about all the steps of processing milk to sell it to consumers.” –Dylan Duncan
- Madison Jaslar — Interning at Darkhorse Farm in Perkasie, Pennsylvania
“Through this internship, I’m aiming to broaden my scope of knowledge about dairy farm operations to help with my future endeavors in the industry. With specific interests in animal nutrition and youngstock care, I will have the opportunity to complete a research project to explore those topics.” –Madison Jaslar
- Tori Schiffert — Interning at Tauer Dairy in Hanska, Minnesota
“This internship is a big deal to me because it’s putting me way out of my comfort zone, sending me 1,200 miles from home. I’m excited to learn and build my knowledge within the industry and to also grow my network and relationships with new people.” –Tori Schiffert
- George Sebright – Interning at Brey’s Cycle Farm in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
“I’m excited to learn about what it would take to manage a dairy of this size. They milk about 600 cows. I come from a 60-cow dairy, so I have a lot of small-farm knowledge but having that larger farm experience is something I really want to learn because large herd management is something I’m interested in. This internship and host farm will help prepare me not only for a job in large herd management but genetics as well.” –George Sebright
- Yvette Wolpo — Interning at Rock
Hollow Dairy LLC in Loysville, Pennsylvania
“I’m most excited to learn about the farm’s breeding program and get experience with the artificial insemination process. Not coming from a farming background, I’m also interested in learning the business and management aspects of dairy production.” –Yvette Wolpo
Students who are accepted into the program 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.