Internship Spotlight: Ferndale Market and Peterson Turkey Hatchery

By: Madison Taylor, U of M Student

As I come to the close of the semester and my wonderful internship with Ferndale Market and Peterson Turkey Hatchery, I am pleased to say that I can officially speak the language of turkeys! Well maybe not actually communicating with the turkeys per se, but I definitely had a great experience learning more about the turkey industry and all the opportunities it holds.

Growing up on my family’s fourth generation century farm, I have had the great privilege of being involved in the agriculture industry and reaping the benefit of all the opportunities it brings. I have found friends, traveled the globe, and been enlightened by the many career pathways that I can follow because of agriculture. Agriculture has been a cornerstone in my personal development and I owe a lot of that to my love for the entire industry, especially the turkey industry.

Throughout last summer and the fall semester, I was fortunate to have a great internship working for the Peterson family in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. The Peterson family owns a company that my family produces our turkeys for. We have been growing for the Peterson Family and their company – Ferndale Market – for the last four years, and we are so thankful to be a part of such a wonderful company and family flock.

I was Ferndale Market and Peterson Turkey Hatchery’s first intern. Since it was a new experience for everyone involved, there was a lot of learning along the way. We outlined my projects at the beginning of the summer and we really focused on having a variety of opportunities throughout my entire internship so I could gain as much knowledge and new skills as possible.

My tasks and projects included everything from doing production research in the barn and creating a biosecurity plan for the farm, to planning farm tours and helping with new product development. There was a lot of room for growth and the development of new skills, since I was doing very diverse work day-to-day. I really enjoyed the diversity of projects because it kept me on my toes and allowed me to be creative.

I was also able to use past experiences with leadership roles and past course work to bring new ideas and projects to the internship and business. Since I was using past experiences to help advance in the internship, I got to further develop skills I already had such as critical thinking, flexibility, and teamwork. I was fortunate to have my internship go through the semester, so I had continual learning experiences throughout the fall. This really kept me engaged and motivated at school!

One of my last projects involved preparing and helping with Thanksgiving sales, and an event called Turkey Fest. Thanksgiving just so happens to be our busiest time of year…I’ll let you figure that one out on your own! I sold fresh whole turkeys, conducted live cooking demos, and was a part of the great turkey spirit everyone brought to Ferndale Market during the Thanksgiving holiday. It is my favorite time of year!

Throughout my time in the Ferndale family flock, I learned so much about not only the industry but about myself and what motivates me and the type of career I hope to hold in the future. This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life, and undoubtedly one of the most influential for my future as I start on the home stretch toward finding a career.

Madison Taylor

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