HARRISBURG, Pa. — The 2020 On-Farm Internship program is now accepting applications for host farms and undergraduate students who are interested in gaining hands-on experience in dairy production. 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 Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania partner to support this program.
“For undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing a career in dairy, the On-Farm Internship program gives them valuable experience on a progressive dairy farm. It’s an experience they can’t always get in the classroom,” said Brittany Haag, Dairy Education Program Manager at the Dairy Excellence Foundation. “The opportunity is equally rewarding for host farms who want to make a tangible impact on the next generation of producers.”
Participating students receive a $3,000 stipend in addition to compensation from their host farms. Students must attend a Pennsylvania university, must be a Pennsylvania resident attending an out-of-state school, or must be a recently graduated Pennsylvania resident with an interest in dairy production. Preference is given to upperclassmen undergraduates.
Students who are accepted into the On-Farm Internship program are paired with host farms that complement their career goals. The program matches students with mentors and organizes monthly calls and discussion groups to encourage continuous learning. Throughout the summer, interns also establish goals and complete research projects that benefit their host farm’s operations.
“The internship was a great opportunity for me. I learned a lot about herd health, which is really what I want to do,” said Montana Stump, a senior at Delaware Valley University and a 2019 on-farm intern. “The [farm hosts] were really good teachers—they would show me how to do something, but then let me do it myself. It was an exciting experience.”
Host farms benefit from working with skilled interns who are interested in dairy production and eager to learn. Farms that apply for the program 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.
“As dairy producers, the internship program is a great way to share our knowledge and experiences with someone who is genuinely interested in our industry but needs that opportunity to learn and grow,” said Walt Moore of Walmoore Holsteins, a PDMP member and Dairy Excellence Foundation Board member who hosted an on-farm intern last summer.
Student applications are due by October 31, 2019, and host farm applications are due by December 31.
–Emily Barge, Center for Dairy Excellence