Internship Spotlight: The Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation

By Ethan Dado, U of M Senior

The Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation was founded in 1986 with a goal to provide opportunities for supporters of agriculture to invest in people and programs focused on supporting active farmers and agriculturalists, better connecting agriculture to consumers and serving rural communities. Starting two years ago, the Foundation has hired an intern each year to grow the impact the foundation can provide to both employees and partners.

This year, I had the opportunity to intern with the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation. My main roles included event planning for the Golf Outing, Sporting Clays Tournament, and Farm Camp Minnesota in Dundas. I also assisted with office work, wrote solicitation letters, and applied for grants. The internship offered many learning opportunities, grew my network, and allowed me to reflect on my academic and career goals.

This internship provided me with my first “9 to 5” office job. That, in and of itself, provided many great learning experiences. I was able to learn more about being a young professional while working with coworkers and taking instruction from my supervisor.

One of the greatest challenges, which led to a learning opportunity, was writing emails and solicitation letters asking businesses for donations. It was difficult to find a balance of professionalism while still being conversational in order to build a relationship with that business. However, once the writing was complete, it was rewarding to hear back from a company about a donation. These skills will be valuable in my future as a teacher trying to raise funds for my program.

Communication was the strength I was able to grow in the most, both written and verbal. However, I also learned more about my own work style and prioritizing work in a different setting. At times I had a full plate of work to accomplish, and other times it was slow. It was important for me to be able to effectively use my time to accomplish all tasks. With proper prioritization I was able to not stress and put in ample time to each assignment. Overall, the internship provided me with many great learning opportunities and better prepared me for my future.ethan-dado

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