College Students and High School Graduates Can Apply for an Internship and Dairy Farms Can Apply to Host an Intern
Undergraduate students, high school graduates, and host farms are encouraged to apply for the 2024 On-Farm Internship program. Applications are now being accepted, with up to eight interns given the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in dairy production next summer. The program was designed to provide 10- to 12-week on-farm internships to the next generation of dairy managers in Pennsylvania. The Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania (PDMP), Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association, and Dairy Excellence Foundation partner to support this program. Online internship applications are now available and must be submitted by November 1, 2023.
“This internship opportunity is a great way for students to take their personal interests in dairy production and expand on their knowledge through boots-on-the-ground, farm-level responsibilities and research projects,” said Michelle Shearer, Workforce Development Management at the Dairy Excellence Foundation. “It’s a competitive internship program that helps expose students to new management styles, different types of herds and technology, and even other states and terrain if students are interested in traveling outside Pennsylvania.”
Participating students receive a $3,000 stipend in addition to compensation from their host farms. To apply, students must meet one of the following requirements:
- Currently enrolled in, or a recent graduate of, a Pennsylvania university or college
- A resident of Pennsylvania who is currently enrolled in, or a recent graduate of, an out-of-state university or college
- A resident of Pennsylvania with a high school diploma and between the ages of 18 and 25 as of June 15, 2024, who has agriculture experience and an interest in dairy farming
In addition, students must be either majoring in Animal Sciences or a related agriculture field or gaining experience in production agriculture. It is also recommended that students are interested in the production aspect of the dairy industry and/or an on-farm learning experience.
“I can be shy and reserved, so I needed something to push me out of my comfort zone. I’ve always been more of an animal person, and it’s probably where I should be. I’ve known that, but I just kind of pushed it to the side,” said Cameron Goodyear who completed an on-farm internship in the summer of 2023. “[After this on-farm internship], now I realize this is where I’m happy. It has helped me see everything in a different light, and I might be switching to an animal science major. It’s been a great experience.”
Students who are accepted into the On-Farm Internship program are paired with host farms that can help them solidify their career goals. Throughout the experience, interns will participate in discussion groups, set goals for the summer, and complete an in-depth research project that benefits the host farm.
Host farms benefit by mentoring skilled interns who are eager to learn and interested in dairy production. 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.
“Our employee [who helps manage our herd] did an internship when she was in college, and that’s what brought her back to the farm from another job. This program has been a good way for us to give back to help other students understand farm practices. It has definitely been a win-win for our intern and our farm,” said Glenn Kline of Y-Run Farms, LLC, a previous host farm in the program.
Student applications are due by November 1, 2023, and host farm applications are due by November 15, 2023.