Dairy Farms in Pennsylvania and Beyond Encouraged to Host On-Farm Interns

Producers Can Mentor College Students Who Are Interested in Dairy Production

Dairy producers from Pennsylvania and beyond are encouraged to apply to be a host farm in the 2022 On-Farm Internship Program. The program was designed to provide 10- to 12-week on-farm internships and create opportunities for Pennsylvania students to gain practical knowledge, information, and skills about progressive dairy operations. The Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania (PDMP), Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association, and Dairy Excellence Foundation partner each year to support this program. Host farm applications must be submitted by December 31, 2021.

“If you’re looking for an intern to work on your dairy operation next summer, the On-Farm Internship Program is a great way to be paired with a college student who wants to pursue a future career in dairy,” said Michelle Shearer, Workforce Development Manager at the Dairy Excellence Foundation. “Not only can you mentor and share your years of experience with the next generation, but many host farms also benefit from getting an outside perspective on the ins and outs of your dairy business.”

Throughout the summer internship, host farms will be expected to create goals and areas of focus for the student. As part of these goals, interns will participate in discussion groups and work closely with their host farm to complete an in-depth research project that benefits the dairy operation. Host farms are also expected to provide feedback and hold 30-day and final reviews with the intern.

“When I was in college 20 years ago, I did an internship. I learned a lot through that internship program, so I decided if I could have an intern here on our farm, it would help the next generation of dairy farmers get involved and show them what we do,” said Doug Harbach of Schrack Farms in Loganton, Pennsylvania, a previous host farm in the program. “We try to find interns who will challenge us and ask us questions about why we do what we do. Our intern was good at that. It helped us revaluate our processes and what we’re doing.”

Farms that apply for the program may be located within or outside of Pennsylvania, but producers must agree to expose the intern to all aspects of a successful, progressive dairy operation. In addition, host farms must be:

  • A progressive, well-managed dairy business with a positive outlook on the industry
  • Willing to expose the intern to all aspects of a successful, progressive dairy operation including financial information and management team meetings with adequate training and consultation in order to achieve learning objectives
  • Willing to provide information concerning organizational policies and procedures
  • Able to pay the intern a standard employee wage in adherence with all federal and state employment requirements and competitive with industry standards
  • Able to provide a safe working environment and conduct a safety and animal care overview upon start of internship

“The internship program is one of our favorite things. We were fortunate enough to have great mentors in our early years. We learned so much and gained perspective and confidence from those people. We enjoy paying those experiences forward and fostering relationships with young people,” said Moriah Brey from Brey’s Cycle Farm in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, a previous host farm in the program.

Host farm applications are due by December 31, 2021 and can be submitted online. Visit www.centerfordairyexcellence.org/internship to apply and learn more about the program. Contact Michelle Shearer at mshearer@centerfordairyexcellence.org or 570-768-8316 with questions.