The Internships Provide On-Farm Learning Experiences to the Next Generation of Dairy
Four 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 allow college students to be exposed to all aspects of dairy production. In many cases, these internships help solidify their passion for the dairy industry so they can go on to find meaningful careers on and off the farm,” said Michelle Shearer, Workforce Development Manager at the Center for Dairy Excellence. “This year, our interns are interested in nutrition, animal care, and dairy management. Through research projects and mentorship with their host farms, these students are expanding on their classroom knowledge and building industry connections that will last a lifetime.”
For 10 to 12 weeks throughout the summer, interns gain on-farm experience and participate in virtual discussions with one another to network and share their experiences. 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.
“Hosting an intern directly benefits our farm in one way by lightening the workload of other team members. We also see benefits for the ag industry as a whole to give an opportunity for an individual seeking a career in agriculture to have real world experience before entering their career,” said Josh Brubaker of Brubaker Farms in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, one of the host farms 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:
- Katerina Coffman – Interning at Brubaker Farms in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
“I chose to participate in this internship because I wanted to connect my animal science course material with technical skills on a progressive dairy farm. I felt completing this internship would allow my education to be more well-rounded and help me better serve the community of dairy farmers I’d like to work for in the future.” –Katerina Coffman
- Kendal Jenkins — Interning at Table Rock Farm in Castile, New York
“I chose to do this internship because I want to gain a variety of experience working on a dairy that is larger than I am used to. I want to learn about the organization and cow care practices that my host farm utilizes.” –Kendal Jenkins
- Aaron Lieboff — Interning at Hetrickdale Farms in Bernville, Pennsylvania
“I am doing this internship to get more experience. I didn’t grow up on a farm so I don’t have as much experience as others do, so this is very exciting for me. I am hoping to learn more about large dairy operations and nutrition. This farm is a very large operation and very focused on nutrition, so I am happy to have this opportunity.”
- Katelyn Taylor — Interning at Schrack Farms in Loganton, Pennsylvania
“I decided to apply for an internship position in order to obtain hands-on experience with dairy producers. I felt that this would best prepare me for future endeavors within the dairy industry. I’m very excited to see what this summer holds.” –Katelyn Taylor
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. To learn more, visit centerfordairyexcellence.org/internship or contact Michelle Shearer at 717-346-0849 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.