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


Help Us Celebrate Our Amazing Students!

By Ellyn Swanson, U of M Junior

The end of yet another school year is quickly approaching, and we at the University of Minnesota Agricultural Education, Communication and Marketing department would like to take time to recognize our amazing students. Join us on Friday, May 12, 2017 from 10:00-11:30 A.M. at the Cargill Building on the U of M’s St. Paul Campus for the fourth annual Celebration of Students event!

During this event, we will celebrate our students’ amazing accomplishments that occurred throughout the year. Agricultural Education, Agricultural Communication & Marketing, and MAELC scholarship winners will be recognized, in addition to our graduating seniors and grad students, Peer-to-Peer Participants, and Ag Ed Club members.

Agricultural Education and Agricultural Communication & Marketing graduate and undergraduate students, your parents, as well as our scholarship donors, STAR Partners and other valued stakeholders are all cordially invited. Pastries, fruit and beverages will be served in the atrium from 10:00-10:30 a.m., and an hour-long program will follow.

You can RSVP for the event here:

*New in 2017: We are holding the event on a Friday morning this year – the same day as CFANS Commencement! All Ag Ed and ACM students are also encouraged to extend this invitation to your parents – we’d love to see them at this celebratory event!

Here are some photos from last year’s event. Please consider joining us for a fun filled morning!

Internship Spotlight: Sleepy Eye FFA

By: Morgan Krause, U of M Student

Last summer, I was an Agricultural Education Intern in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota through the Minnesota Agriculture Education Leadership Council (MAELC).  The focus of this internship was to provide college students like myself an opportunity to experience what the day-to-day life of an agriculture teacher looks like.  During the 13 weeks spent with the Sleepy Eye FFA chapter, I made hundreds of connections with students, assisted in developing their program and became part of a wonderful rural community.

One of the highlights of my summer was assisting in the Sleepy Eye, Tracy and Marshall four-day camp, Timberland.  I was able to progress my planning and organizing skills while having a fun week with over 60 FFA members.  It was incredible to watch students grow personally and with each other throughout the week.  I have experienced dozens of FFA camps before this internship, but Timberland was a unique in the sense that I saw the camp through the eyes of a teacher.  Being able to the “behind the scenes” portions of camp gave me a huge respect for all that our teachers do for us.

Interacting with FFA members is something I love to do.  While serving a year as a State FFA Officer, I realized my love for the FFA, but I rarely experienced what happened in the classroom.  This summer gave me a glimpse into what teachers actually do during their summers and how successful programs operate in the summer months.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with the Sleepy Eye chapter, and use this experience to fuel my future career.

Morgan K

Internship Spotlight: United Farmers Cooperative

By: Daniel Hayes, U of M Student

During the summer of 2016, I was a crop scout intern with United Farmers Cooperative (UFC). Growing up working with UFC, I was familiar with their agronomy program. I heard about the internship from past interns, and I thought it would be an interesting position for me to pursue.

Working at the agronomy department at UFC was a great experience. There was an orientation day in April to prep interns for the upcoming summer, including forklift training and certification, safety certification, and general company information. Once the spring semester was over, I started working at the Winthrop UFC location, along with four other interns. We started the week with a training session with the head agronomist on identifying corn, how to complete stand counts, and how to use the Winfield R7 and Scoutpro tools on the iPad. That afternoon, we began scouting fields and taking stand counts. Along with that training, we were taught to stage corn and mark anything that a farmer or agronomist should know about the field at the time.

Throughout the summer we collected stand counts, standard deviations, scouted weeds, scouted diseases, and collected tissue samples. Each intern was given a project, and we were able to choose our trials.  We toured all of the UFC locations, learned about the precision division in the UFC agronomy department, and at the end of the summer, we presented on projects and experiences with the company.  I was taught to be more proactive and stay ahead of the workload, which helped me be organized in my professional and personal life. On a handful occasions, I got to talk with farmers about what was happening in their fields. There were two days where we went to our local Winfield Answer Plot, and the Winfield region agronomist would talk about what was going on in the area.

I also gained valuable connections, and these relationships helped me learn about myself and how I can progress professionally and become more knowledgeable about agronomy. Each intern brought something to the team that helped us get all the scouting done in a timely manner. Brett, our supervisor, was great to work with. All the interns helped me learn about myself and how I work with people. I built some great friendships that will last a lifetime.

The biggest highlight with my summer internship was working with the agronomist. He gave me some tips for finding my next internship, and helped me with my Winfield Wrap-Up PowerPoint.  I got to ride around, meet with growers, and discuss what was happening on their farms. Those days were rewarding to me because we were working on solutions to help the growers, and I’m considering this to be a career option after college. The other highlight was gaining knowledge from the Winfield R7 and Scoutpro applications. Both applications helped me learn about the different weeds, diseases, and nutrient deficiencies, which make it convenient for scouts, agronomists, and farmers to identify problems.

I cannot replace the opportunities that I had this past summer!

Dan Hayes

Internship Spotlight: White Coat Wealth Advisors

By: Chelsey Daly, U of M Student

Last summer, I had the opportunity to intern at a company called White Coat Wealth Advisors. During my internship, I had the opportunity to communicate with clients regarding new applications and other service related issues, and prepare proposals and other materials as directed for client meetings. I also created and managed the White Coat LinkedIn page, including connections, content and postings, and I generated monthly FIO mailers and email campaigns.

At the beginning of my internship, I was very excited for what was to come. I wanted to learn the “ins and outs” of the company, while also learning more about what it took to be a valuable member of a team. I was able to accomplish that by meeting with my bosses every week to discuss effective ways to reach their market, which includes residents and fellows from the University of Minnesota. Using the knowledge I gained from Professor Swenson’s course last semester, I created a marketing timeline for the company and showed them how it could help them increase contacts by being active on social media. I was also able to demonstrate different ways to reach their target market without bombarding them with too much information at once.

Throughout this internship, I was able to learn a lot about the financial services industry. I also got to learn more about myself as an individual and what my ideal work environment and career path could be. I appreciated the ability to make professional connections, gain communication skills, and learn that it is always important to stick up for your ideas because you never know when one of them could be successful!

Chelsey Daly