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Welcome to the blog page for Agricultural Education, Communication and Marketing at the University of Minnesota. Our mission is to prepare students to be successful leaders, educators, and communicators in the agricultural, food, and natural resources career field. We are committed to student success and to helping students achieve their educational and career goals.

We invite you to explore our program on the web, as this site was designed to provide information and resources about the Agricultural Education and Agricultural Communication and Marketing majors. Prospective students and parents are encouraged to contact us with your questions and interest. We look forward to personally meeting you during a campus visit!

Internship Spotlight: BlackEye Roasting Co.


By Thane Ewald, U of M Junior

Earlier this year, I served as an intern at BlackEye Roasting Co.   The position involved a lot of independent thinking and self-reliance. Throughout my internship, I was heavily involved in the brewing and production side of the business, learning how to filter the coffee as well as operate a wildgoose canning line that can fill 33 cans per minute. I was also able to sit in on several meetings with the Agriculture Department and the Board of Health when they popped in for an inspection or toured the future production site of BlackEye Roasting Co.

Through this internship, I learned about what is needed for the government to license your company as a full-scale food manufacturer. In addition to the legal aspects of the process, I learned about the harmful germs and diseases that can easily spread in the food manufacturing process and how to easily avoid contamination with the product. I also found out some key things about preserving foods and beverages that are to be sold on major commercial markets, and the kind of requirements that are needed to keep a product shelf stable.

One of the most important experiences with this internship was the Agriculture Department inspection. I learned so much from sitting in on this meeting, that I feel I have a better understanding of how to open a food processing facility and all of the things that can hinder your opening. I am planning on utilizing this knowledge in my future career endeavors.

thane-ewald-photoThane, with the filter process he designed at BlackEye Roasting Co. 


Internship Spotlight: Minnesota Pork


By Kennedy Janssen, U of M Junior

I was sun kissed, tan, and a little overwhelmed with America in general.  I had just gotten back from Nicaragua on a trip with GIVE volunteers and I was a little nervous to start my internship with Minnesota Pork the next day.  From the first day on, I was thrown into a fantastic work culture where I was constantly learning and being pushed out of my comfort zone.  Little did I know that my summer would teach me just as much about myself as it did about the pork industry.  (No worries, I still got my travel kick in, too!)  Throughout the summer, I traveled all around the great state of Minnesota with my fellow intern, Gabriella, sharing the wonderful story of pig farming.

The focus for this internship was mainly communications.  My job was to represent the Minnesota pork industry to the best of my ability.  Gabriella and I visited farmers markets in urban areas and encouraged people to ask us questions about pig farming and pork.  For every question asked, we donated a pound of ground pork to Second Harvest Heartland.  We talked with people on every end of the spectrum.  From answering a 6-year-old’s question of “why pigs oink,” to discussing the environmental aspects of pig farming with a 60-year-old Minneapolis native, I heard it all.  I also had the opportunity to interact with many of the pig farmers of Minnesota.  It was intriguing to hear what they thought about the industry and the work that they do.

I learned an immense amount throughout this internship.  I was able to go on a tour of the John Morrell processing plant, which was incredibly eye opening.  I facilitated farm camps for kids, worked with social media outlets, and sat in on meetings discussing the policies behind the industry as a whole.  I learned how to organize events while helping plan the Young Leaders in Ag Conference last June.  Next was Farmfest, where Gabriella and I were in charge of the Pork Ambassador contest.  Finally, we finished up our internship working at the Minnesota State Fair.

I got to see every aspect of the pork industry on a higher level than I expected.  The biggest take away from this year was what I learned by interacting with diverse types of people.  My job was to share the awesome story of Minnesota pig farmers – and what I grew to understand was that everyone has a story.  People believe what they believe due to experiences in their past.  I realized that if I empathized with them and saw where they were coming from, progress was usually made.  I’d like to think I learned just as much from them, as they did from me.

I have great hope for the future of Minnesota Pork and am excited to continue to be involved in this industry for years to come.  This summer was filled with lots of pigs and lots of people, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience!


Internship Spotlight: Cargill


By Micah Twedt, U of M Senior

This summer, I had the opportunity to complete an internship with Cargill in Marna, Minnesota. My official title was “Sales Agronomist Intern,” and I helped out the Cargill team by creating surveys about how people are using Precision Ag. I also sold soil sampling to farmers.

Another great experience with my internship was day-to-day field scouting. It helped me to increase my soils and agronomy skills, and I was able to take what I have learned in the classroom and apply it in the field.

One goal I had this summer was to have ride alongs with people in different agricultural roles. The ride alongs that were especially useful and informative were with a grain marketer, a Stine representative and an LG representative – they taught me the most about the agriculture business. The grain marketer taught me about selling and buying grain, which was something I knew very little about and it really piqued my interest in this. The Stine rep taught me a lot about being myself as a salesman. He said that if I am not going to be myself in the business, I should find a new business! The LG rep taught me about genetics, and made me even more interested in the topic.

Cargill invited all of the interns from all over the United States and China to meetings in Minneapolis, and this turned out to be one of my key experiences. They had seminars and meetings that gave great life advice. We also had a Hub visit in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This meeting was valuable, and I learned so much at corn crushing plant. Corn is used in almost everything – from paper to Gatorade!

Overall, this internship taught me so much about agriculture in general, as well as how to be a business professional.


Internship Spotlight: Second Harvest Heartland


By Kevin Lapham, U of M Senior

Have you ever given back to your community? If not, I would recommend you read these next few paragraphs to find out how you can! Last Spring, I enrolled in a class at the University of Minnesota that would allow me to complete a summer internship related to my degree of Agricultural Communication and Marketing. Oh boy, did I ever find a great opportunity!

I started working as an intern at Second Harvest Heartland (SHH) in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Right from the start, I knew that this was an experience I would never forget. Every day, we distributed hundreds of commodity boxes to clients throughout the Twin Cities area. It was my duty to help distribute $20 farmers’ market coupons to clients, who happened to number in the thousands! Can you imagine distributing food to that many people? This gave me plenty of face-to-face interaction with clients, and a bounty of new experiences.

There were many ways that SHH gave me the opportunity to give back to the community. For one, I was providing extra nutrition to thousands of people. This felt great! The Nutrition Assistance Program ensured that the people we were serving had an income level that was well below the poverty line, so it was reassuring to know I was making a difference and giving back to the community which supports us all.

I was able to interact with people who were happy, mad, sad, bored, and depressed. This was the by far the biggest learning opportunity for me. If a client was sad, we mourned with them. If a client was happy, we celebrated with them. I also learned you can NEVER know what to expect. One day, I saw a client collapse from the heat in the drive-way. Who was the only individual to see him fall? Me. Were we trained in what to do in this situation? No. I rushed over to him and saw that his response time was very slow. I ran to the front desk and I asked that the emergency response be initiated from staff. In the end, he got back up from the ground and left with his grandson. I was so happy that he was okay, and that I had done everything I could do to ensure his safety.

It truly took everyone in the Heartland organization to ensure the success of our program. Throughout my internship, SHH staff were constantly engaging us and creating new learning opportunities. Volunteers were a huge part of my internship, and they would help us serve the clients in need. This created a new and unique social environment for me.

Do you want to improve your social skills and competency in the workplace? Then I would recommend that you find a position with Second Harvest Heartland.


Internship Spotlight: National Council of Farmer Cooperatives


By Greta Tank, U of M Senior

This summer I had the opportunity to explore my interest in agriculture policy while working for the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) in Washington, DC. NCFC was formed in 1929 with regional and national farmer cooperative members who are comprised of more than 2,500 local farmer cooperatives across the country. My internship allowed me to work with the Government Affairs team on top legislative issues impacting NCFC members, particularly GMO labeling. The first few weeks were spent scheduling Hill visits with Senators and Representatives for attendees of the NCFC annual conference. Throughout the summer, I attended briefings and hearings and conducted research on agriculture issues such as sustainability and GMO labeling.

It was exciting to be in Washington, DC during an election year! Many agricultural issues gained more media attention because of the election and there were additional protesters gathered around the Capitol. I was able to watch the GMO labeling bill become a law throughout the summer after it passed in both the Senate and House. This bill is said to be the most influential for agriculture in the past 25 years, so it was thrilling to see the process unfold, especially behind the scenes. One of my favorite parts of the summer was building a network of agricultural interns from across the nation who share a passion for policy. Nearly every week, I was able to attend a luncheon hosted by other ag interns to learn about their positions and the company they work for.

Living 1,000 miles away from family and friends was a new experience for me, and I’m glad I took the opportunity to explore all that DC has to offer. My internship challenged me to be a self-starter and forced me to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I loved living and working in such a historic city, but realized that I don’t want to work there long-term. Although I loved the convenience of the metro system, the history and culture of DC, and the political environment, I missed the Midwest way of life. Interning with NCFC was a rewarding experience and I enjoyed learning the unwritten rules of DC work life, making friendships across the nation, and spending a summer learning more about our government.