HARRISBURG, Pa. — The 2023 On-Farm Internship program is now accepting applications for host farms and undergraduate students and high school graduates who are interested in gaining 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, 2022.
“This is a competitive internship program that is designed to give young dairy professionals direct experience at the farm level. Students can take their personal interests in dairy production and expand on that through on-farm responsibilities and research projects that directly benefit their host farm,” said Michelle Shearer, Workforce Development Management at the Dairy Excellence Foundation. “Many of our interns have gone on to find rewarding full-time careers on Pennsylvania dairy operations or in sectors of the industry that support dairy producers.”
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, 2023, 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.
“The internship is a great idea, especially if you’re looking to gain on-farm skills. The life lessons you learn about yourself and working with dairy cattle are important. The more experiences you can have on the farm just make you more marketable and give you more skills to better utilize your degree,” said Katerina Coffman who completed an on-farm internship in the summer of 2022.
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.
“Hosting an intern directly benefits our farm in one way by lightening the workload of other team members, giving more opportunity for time off,” said Josh Brubaker from Brubaker Farms in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, a previous host farm in the program. “We also see the benefits of giving an individual who is seeking a career in agriculture some real-world experience before entering their career.”
Student applications are due by November 1, 2022, and host farm applications are due by November 15, 2022.
–Emily Barge, Center for Dairy Excellence