Opening Doors

By Chanel Jensen
Agricultural Communications Major

As an agricultural communication student minoring in equine science, I wanted to spend the summer working for a company to help me gain exposure in both the horse industry and communications. I believe that my summer employment will  prepare me for my dream internship in the coming years which is with the American Paint Horse or American Quarter Horse Journal, both of which hire interns in marketing and journalism.

This summer, I am working at Riding Warehouse, a retail and online store for horse products. We sell tack and riding clothes for western, English, and endurance riders, as well as a myriad of equine grooming and health products. When I was hired in April, I worked in the warehouse, picked products and packed orders which helped me become familiar with how the store and its technology works. After a few weeks, I began my immersion in the storefront, where I worked face to face with customers. I quickly learned that this can be a demanding job. So far, I have learned many lessons about customer service and professionalism. All of these lessons have greatly contributed to improving my communication skills both on the retail floor and on the phone. Having an online store, Riding Warehouse receives a multitude of calls every day. Soon I will be trained to assist customers in this way. I have really come to enjoy the daily customer interactions on the retail floor.

Looking back on my three months working at Riding Warehouse, I can think of many times when I felt I helped a customer purchase a product for themselves and their horses in the best way possible. It’s a great feeling when customers leave satisfied and excited to use their new products. I look forward to having those interactions over the phone as well. My communication skills will only grow.

I believe Riding Warehouse will continue to provide many skills and experiences necessary for obtaining future internships and jobs. Additionally, I feel that Riding Warehouse is helping me to build valuable relationships with the agricultural sector of California’s Central Coast. Not only am I creating professional relationships such as those with customers and management, but I am also making new friends! I love being immersed in an environment with horse crazy college girls, just like me.

Overall, my employment at Riding Warehouse has and will continue to open many doors for me. I look forward to my future with the company and my future in the Agriculture and Equine Industries!RW pic

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The Other Side of the Fair

By Quincie Gourley
Agricultural Communication major

The youth organization 4-H is a program I could not imagine my life without. As a proud 4-H member, I have shown market hogs at my local county fair for ten years. Throughout the years, I have learned so much about animals, people, and myself. FullSizeRender-2My 4-H experiences led to my summer internship at the Monterey County Fairgrounds working as the media and marketing intern. Going into this internship, I knew social media management and marketing the fair would be my key focus.  I have been handling all of the fair’s social media accounts, and working with all the sponsorships.

There wasn’t much to managing the social media platforms, so I didn’t have a problem with posting updates about the fairgrounds. I couldn’t have done it without the help of the website Hoot suite, an absolute blessing in managing all of the 4-H accounts. I was also asked to manage the Heritage Foundation’s accounts, a large non-profit organization associated with the Monterey County fairgrounds.



Pictured: A member of the Santa Lucia Rotary Club, two Fair Board Members, Our Heritage Foundation Scholarship Recipient, and intern Quincie Gourley

Sponsorships on the other hand, were an entirely different world to me. The only thing I knew about sponsors was they got their logos on fancy prints. I was given all of the “in-kind” media sponsors to work out agreements and negotiating deals.


Quincie hanging up fair posters as part of her effort to gain sponsorships from local groups and businesses.

Shortly after, I was handling cash sponsors, emailing corporate companies, talking to CEOs, being on conference calls, and getting cc’d on tons of email. For a couple of weeks, I felt like an Agribusiness major.

Now, I am in the middle of planning two events: The Fair Kick-Off Dinner BBQ and the MCF’s Wine Competition and Pouring. The Kick Off Dinner planning has pulled me going in a million different directions. It is quickly approaching, and there is not nearly enough time to get in all my phone calls or donations. The “newest” part of my internship is managing the Wine Competition. Throughout the entire process, Jacky Eshelby, a Cal Poly Agribusiness professor, has helped me. However, the differences between wines or food and wine pairings is beyond me. I have used my “learn by doing” skills to created wine flights for the five-day event. What an experience!

One of the trickiest thing to understand was how to email in a professional manner. Simple, right?  I have never been cc’d on an email or even had a $10,000 sponsorship in my hands. To think my boss believed I could have handle all of this as an 18-year-old is humbling. I don’t take it lightly. Some days are tougher than others, but those are the days I’ll remember and learned valuable lessons. Just like some of the stubborn 4-H hogs I showed at fair, I made the best of the situation. In my internship, I have gained so much more knowledge, from the other side of the fair.

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D.C. Internship: New National Perspective

By Emma Morris
Agricultural Communication major

This summer, I have had the privilege of interning in our nation’s capital with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Specifically, I am interning with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in the Research and Promotion (R&P) division of the Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program (LPS). The Federal Government loves initialisms. Essentially, AMS administers programs encouraging marketing opportunities in the American agriculture industry. AMS staff oversee the National Organic Program, conduct Quality Grading and Standards inspections, and support commodity-specific efforts, including Dairy; Specialty Crops; Livestock, Poultry, & Seed; and Cotton & Tobacco programs. They also provide regulatory oversight for 22 research and promotion programs, which is the area I am working in.

These research and promotion programs, also known as Check-off programs, are industry funded and run by boards made up of industry members (with AMS oversight). The board members are nominated by their industry and appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. The size of the board is based on the size of the particular commodity. For example, there are 100 members on the Beef Board and six on the Popcorn Board. The boards are funded by the industry based on their particular Check-off program details. For instance, the Beef Board collects $1-per-head from producers on all cattle sold in the U.S. and the equivalent on imported cattle. Other commodities have other methods of collection, but the idea is the same; producers pay into these programs based on how much of their commodity they sell. This money is then used to fund research and promotion efforts within the industry. You may be familiar with some of these efforts:

Because the boards are appointed by the Secretary, they are considered quasi-government agencies and therefore must have government approval on everything they do. In the Livestock, Poultry, and Seed (LPS) program, marketing specialists oversee 6 of the 22 programs: beef, pork, poultry, lamb, soybeans, and sorghum. The specialists’ oversight includes reviewing and approving everything the boards do and say, from their annual budget to research papers to social media posts. Specialists also attend board meetings and communicate almost daily with the boards they oversee.

My duties this summer have been to help the LPS marketing specialists with their oversight roles and to learn the intricacies of the programs. My main goals this summer are to learn all I can about the USDA and its operation, improve my professional and workplace communication skills, and make connections in Washington, D.C.  I got this internship in a spontaneous and serendipitous way, with very little time to prepare, but I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity. My learning curve has been vertical and I’m soaking up all the experiences and buzz around D.C. that I can. I look forward to completing the internship and coming back to California with a national perspective on agriculture.

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Expanding Horizons

By Mary Allen
Agriculture Communication major with a Agribusiness minor

A plethora of new information, tall buildings, and business professional dress are some ways to describe the beginning of my internship experience with the California Rice Commission (CRC) in Sacramento, California.  As the first intern to not come from a rice farming background, I had a lot of learning to do. DuDSC_0978ring the first couple of weeks, I really enjoyed absorbing how rice is grown, farmed, and harvested. It’s an amazing process. I’m officially a rice fan for life!


During my eight-week internship, I will shadow each of the CRC staff members for two weeks in order to better understand the rice industry. Their areas of specialty include pesticide regulations, environmental programs, communications strategies, and policy influence.

Learning about pesticide regulations opened my eyes to the complexity and importance of purposeful regulations and registration through the Department of Pesticide Regulations (DPR) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). I even got a picture with the Director of DPR, the President of Western Plant Health Association, and George Soares, a well-respected attorney for many agriculture agencies!


During my week with Jim Morris, the Communications Manager for CRC, we met several professionals including photographers, videographers, agriculture journalists, social media specialists and media designers. Jim keeps busy by planning, delegating, and organizing 11 postings a day on the CRC’s social media platforms. I learned tips and tricks of social media in and out of the field. He also manages media content for two CRC website, and, which is a full time job. With over 550,000 acres of rice grown in the Sacramento Valley, Jim is in charge of the Sacramento Valley news and media platforms. Learning how to represent all commodity groups in the Sacramento Valley was also very interesting.  I was reminded of the importance of keeping a common brand and message in communication. Jim repeatedly said, “Surround yourself with good people, and you will accomplish your goals.”  On the communications side, part of my duties as an intern is writing a weekly blog, contributing to social media with my photos, and completing any other writing needs.

Tim Johnson, the CEO & President of CRC, explained the structural difference between commissions like CRC, and trade organizations such as Citrus Mutual. Both groups require particular leadership and management. Understanding how to achieve the most from your staff by providing incentives and guidelines are techniques I can use in school and beyond.

So many new experiences I never dreamed of happen on a daily basis.  Whether it’s having dinner with a State Assemblyman and prominent agriculture leaders, meeting agriculturalists from France through The California Agriculture Leadership Program or touring a rice research station. I am so thankful for this opportunity of a lifetime to be immersed in the rice industry, which is such a great example in the agriculture. I look forward to learning more before the completion of my internship to help prepare me for my future career and continue to expand my horizons.

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Looking forward to it all!

By Annie Hamilton
Ag. Communication Major

I have always admired the Harvey Lyman Company in Walnut Grove, California because of the great employees who are always so supportive of different youth organizations. When I heard of the opportunity to be the marketing intern at The Tremont / Lyman Groups headquarters in Woodland, California, I jumped on it. And I’m so glad I did!

From the moment I started, everyone has been nothing but welcoming which makes me look forward to work every day.  It is such an incredible feeling to want to get up early in the morning for work because I love what I am doing and the people I’m around.

In 2012, my brother graduated from Cal Poly and the former CFO of Apple Inc, Peter Oppenheimer, gave the commencement address. The best advice he gave to the graduates was the importance of a good mentor at work. As I reflect on this, I feel so fortunate for the many great mentors teaching me this summer. Now I fully understand what Oppenheimer said that day.

I love sitting down with people who have worked with the company for 40+ years and hearing the history of the industry, particularly the side stories of how they are where they are today. The Tremont / Lyman Groups has many unique stories of people who manage the different divisions successful that makes the company stand out. For example, some of the division locations like the Harvey Lyman Group and Growers Ag in Dixon, California are still a family run businesses.

Annie in Action
This summer one of the company’s overall goals is to expand the photo library at the different divisions to showcase the variety of operations happening at each location.  To complete part of this task, I had the incredible opportunity to fly with Les Lyman, the CEO, and Julie Newton, my boss, to take aerial photos of the different properties. Wow, that was amazing! Seeing the different divisions from the sky was such an awesome experience and I was so lucky to be able to be a part of it. This is just one of the many different tasks I have and will be doing this summer.  I look forward to it all!

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East of Eden

By Arielle Dubowe
Ag. Communications Major
Sunset over Bell Peppers 

This summer, I decided to do something different in terms of expanding my food knowledge and career. Instead of working in a corporate office in a city somewhere, I chose to do marketing work for W.D. Henry & Sons Farm, an organic farm located in Eden Valley in Buffalo, New York. Yes, I took a risk, considering my lack of a farming background (or a background involving any dirt at all). Yes, I may go to Cal Poly, one of the top agricultural schools in the country, if not, the world. However, it cannot compare to the invaluable experience of living on a 350+ acre farm in operation since 1888.

Not only do I get to live on the farm, interact with farmers, and fully immerse myself in the farm world, I also get to make sure W.D. Henry & Sons Farm stays in business for a long time. The farm, like most farms across the nation, is trying to keep up with the times by using marketing strategies such as having a strong online presence and recognizing the buying power of millennials.

Floral Greenhouses

Part of my internship is finding the best direct marketing practices to insure that there will never be a shortage of customers. My biggest responsibility lies with the farm’s flower business, which is their main production. Before coming here, I barely knew anything about flower marketing trends and what’s hot right now, but that’s the exciting part—I get to constantly learn while being on the farm.

Regardless of my lack of farming experience, I do not lack the passion of acquiring knowledge in the food and agriculture world. That’s why I’m spending the summer on a farm because I sought out answers. And perspective, too—that’s an important one. How can I work in the corporate food world when I lack the perspective of the very person who grows the food in the first place? People should be knowledgeable about their own jobs, especially people in the food industry. If my dream is to work for Starbucks or Trader Joe’s, how can I make it come true when my face is turned away from the life-sustaining fields, the farmers, and the sun?

Being from the city should not be my excuse for not learning about the farming world. In fact, it is the reason why I should immerse myself into the farm lifestyle and culture. While the city taught me so much, including cultivating my “foodie” personality, it’s only one perspective. I need various perspectives in order to be a more honest, passionate, and knowledgeable food advocate as I pursue my career dreams.

So her’s to a summer full of risks, perspective, passion, and fresh sweet corn which will make my knee’s go weak.

Sweet Corn in the Making!
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The Power of Women in Agriculture: CWA Internship 

By Samantha Wallace
Ag. Communications Major

There are countless things I love about California Women for Agriculture (CWA). The members of this organization are go-getters, determined and have a true passion for promoting the agricultural industry. With 20 chapters and 2,000 plus members across the state, the members are actively engaged in public relations, education and legislative advocacy on behalf of agriculture. This summer, I am privileged to intern with San Luis Obispo County Chapter who proudly serves San Luis Obispo, Southern Monterey and Western Kern Counties.

In the short time I’ve been interning with CWA, the meetings have allowed me to see a glimpse of the heart and soul of this organization and I’m thrilled to be working alongside these influential women who are paving the way for a better future.

For those not as familiar with CWA, the organization’s mission is to “promote and protect the agricultural industry, promote and develop the interest of California women involved or interested in agriculture.”

CWA’s efforts are guided by 5 objectives:

CWA1) To speak on behalf of agriculture in an intelligent, informative, direct and truthful manner

2) To keep CWA members informed on legislative activities pertaining to agriculture

3) To join forces when the need arises to deal with agricultural issues and challenges

4) To improve the public image of farmers

5) To develop a rapport with consumers, educators, and governmental & business leaders in communities throughout the county and outlying areas

SLO CWA plays an important role in being a part of the bigger agriculture picture in California Agriculture (CaWomen4Ag).

My Responsibility

As leaders, it is our responsibility to make sure the next generation is educated and encouraged to step up to the challenges in today’s agriculture industry. A way that CWA supports the next generation, is by hosting the annual Burgers & BREW festival each fall.

The profits from ticket sales, donations and silent auction go towards scholarships for students in 4-H, FFA and collegiate agricultural scholarships. In 2015, the event raised $10,000 for scholarship endowments. The expectation is to double profits in 2016.


2015 Scholarship Recipients


This worthwhile family event takes place on September 4th at the Loading Chute in Creston, CA. Approximately 275 local vendors showcase their tastiest burgers, beer and brew in hopes of being voted “The First Place Winner of Burgers & BREWS 2016”.


First 2016 Burgers & BREWS event meeting

Special committees have been formed to ensure that this event runs smoothly. The CWA has been gracious enough to put me as Lead Creative Director. This position puts me in charge of designing flyers, event programs, and managing social media platforms. For these tasks, I use the InDesign skills I learned in AGC 407 publications class at Cal Poly. The amount of responsibility and trust granted to me is humbling and I don’t take it lightly.

The Burgers & BREWS festival and competition is a rewarding event and I know that my time will be a summer well spent. With much work to be done, I am thrilled to see what this internship has in store!

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