By: Ellyn Swanson, U of M Senior
As I sat down and looked over the list of projects I was to complete at the beginning of my internship, I quickly became overwhelmed and thought, “How in the world will I ever get this all done?” But, as I reflect on my experience as an intern for New Fashion Pork (NFP), I do not know why I was ever worried in the first place.
As the Communications Project Intern, I was based out of the NFP headquarters in Jackson, Minnesota. I primarily worked with the Human Resources Department and many members of the Production Staff. My work focused on editing, revising, and reformatting projects that many NFP employees use on a daily basis. I first started by updating company-wide job descriptions and the NFP Employee Handbook, and then moved on to designing recruiting materials and constructing an Employee Satisfaction survey. On the Production side, I edited, reformatted, and redesigned the NFP Growing Pig, NFP Sow Farm, OFP Growing Pig, and OFP Sow Farm manuals, in addition to the Employee Production Reference and Service Production Reference. I became best friends with Microsoft Word, but found my work to be very fulfilling and enjoyable as I realized how many NFP employees truly used the projects I updated.
In addition to working in the NFP office, I also got to spend time out in the field with members of the Production Staff. I spent one day with a Weaned Pig Specialist, receiving two loads of weaned pigs, in addition to spending a day at the NFP Minnesota Sow Farm (Freking Sow Farm). I also had the opportunity to weigh a turn of NFP’s research pigs, and spend a day with the NFP Trainer as he trained in new Grow to Finish employees. NFP also sent me to several leadership conferences: the Minnesota Pork Social Media and Public Relations Training, and the Young Leaders in Agriculture Conference. With these conferences, I grew both as a professional within the agriculture industry, and also as an individual.
While I did not know much about the swine industry prior to my internship with New Fashion Pork, I could not be more grateful for the opportunities they presented me with that helped me diversify my knowledge of the agricultural industry. Because of their management style, I strongly developed my time management, communication, trustworthiness, and independence skills, in addition to many more, which I feel has tremendously prepared me for a career after graduation. NFP is a very family-oriented company, and throughout my whole internship experience, the work that every employee does, is done for the betterment of the company as a whole, and that is what makes me so proud to be a part of the agricultural industry.