HAMILTON, Mich. — As an industry that contributes more than $104.7 billion to Michigan’s economy and supports more than 923,000 jobs in addition to putting food on our tables, careers in agriculture deserve some attention from career-seeking college students. While non-farm job creation in the U.S. is booming, Michigan agriculture jobs are attracting more and more educated young people into the industry too. These young farmers have powerful stories that will impact Michigan’s agriculture future for the next century.
Jody Kremer started at MSU with plans to become a veterinarian, but soon found her passion was in the poultry industry. She applied for an internship through Michigan Allied Poultry Industries as part of the process for a Midwest Poultry Consortium scholarship, and was accepted to work at Sunrise Acres, a family-owned egg farm in Hudsonville. During her internship, Jody learned about all aspects of the farm, from daily chores like checking food and water levels to milling grain and checking bird weights. Soon after, Sunrise Acres hired her as the farm’s first-ever flock health manager, a brand new, full-time position with the sole responsibility of making sure the farm’s more than two million laying hens are happy and healthy.
“As a student who didn’t grow up on a farm, and didn’t have a background in agriculture, the hands-on experience was absolutely necessary for me,” said Kremer. “Learning how large-scale family farms operate, and especially a vertically-integrated one like Sunrise, is something you can only do firsthand.”
MAPI’s internship program is an excellent way to get young people, who are now less connected to farms than ever, interested in the industry, according to Doug Patmos, VP of farm operations and co-owner of Sunrise Acres. Patmos looks for students who aren’t afraid to get dirty, and have a hard work ethic and a passion for the birds.
The future of farming relies on more young people pursuing careers in ag, and the Michigan Allied Poultry Industry internship program is designed to help students find their way into a thriving industry. MAPI’s internship application is open through this Friday, February 1, and is available at: http://www.mipoultry.com/programs/.
— Michigan Allied Poultry Industry
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