Growing up on a dairy farm in Meadville, Pennsylvania, Dylan Duncan has always been passionate about dairy but was interested in finding a career in food science.
“I grew up on a dairy farm where we milk about 120 Holsteins and farm 1,500 acres. We’ve wanted to open a creamery, so I thought food science would be the best option in the long term,” he shared.
As a sophomore at Penn State University, Dylan is studying food science and decided to complete an on-farm internship to gain experience at the farm level and expand his knowledge of dairy processing. To match his career goals, he was paired with Way-Har Farms—a Berks County dairy farm and farm store where they make their own milk and ice cream in multiple flavors.
Dylan is one of seven college students who completed on-farm internships during the summer of 2021 through a partnership between the Dairy Excellence Foundation, the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association.
Throughout the internship, Dylan was exposed to all sides of Way-Har’s dairy operation at both the farm level and processing level. He learned how to process milk three days a week, make ice cream two days a week, and spent the rest of the time working with cows and gaining on-farm experience. Being able to balance his responsibilities and multi-task was one of the biggest skills Dylan says he gained during the internship.
“I’m learning there’s a lot that goes into running a dairy farm and processing milk. This is a good start to learning everything and knowing what goes into it,” he said.
His favorite part of the internship was making ice cream, and Dylan even created and processed his own flavor as part of an independent research project. Next summer, he hopes to expand on his knowledge of food science by exploring how to make cheese.
“The on-farm internship is a lot of fun. You learn a lot, and most of the farms are super open and let you try whatever you want to do,” Dylan added.
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 on-farm internship program each summer. Learn more.