Internships are More than Fetching Coffee

Spring quarter is quickly coming to an end, which means that summer break is almost here! However, this does not mean that learning is going to come to a pause. In fact, many students will have the opportunity to continue growing and learning from industry experiences. Meet a few students from the College of Agriculture who have exciting plans for the summer!

Vander Horst Dairies of Texas – James Weber
Stephenville, Texas

Company Background: Vander Horst Dairies of Texas is a sole proprietorship based out of Stephenville, Texas. The company consists of five dairies ranging in size from 400-4000 cows. They have a total of 10,000 Jersey and Jersey x Holstein crossbreeds. They eventually intend to move to purebred Jerseys.

Responsibilities: My internship is a 10-12 week job that involves going to a different dairy each week. I will essentially be replacing a manager or assistant manager for a week and giving them some vacation time. This will include responsibilities in many different areas of the large dairy operations, from working with veterinarians to buying commodities for the operation.

Most Intriguing Aspect: I personally enjoy experiencing the dairy industry in different areas. I have worked in the Mid-East, Northern California, Central California and at Cal Poly. I am excited to see another area of the U.S. and new ideas and techniques specific to the region. Several other aspects of this operation that excite me are crossbreeding systems, embryo transfer on a large scale and a large farm using a rotary parlor.

Advice for Younger Students: College lasts four years, five or six for special people. You should get an internship each summer or strive to work during the school year at a job that is relatable to your future career. It is understandable if you have to work at a grocery store to earn money for college, but you have to realize that a job like that may not benefit you as much as working for a vet clinic if you eventually want to enter into production medicine. To sum that up, get out there and get acquainted with your field. You will never regret it.

American AgCredit – Alayna Renner
Santa Rosa and Varying Branches, California

Company Background: American AgCredit is part of the nationwide Farm Credit System. They specialize in providing financial services to agriculture and rural customers throughout California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Kansas, and Oklahoma, as well as to capital markets customers in more that 30 states across the nation. They offer a broad range of agricultural loan and leasing services.

Responsibilities: I will be an appraisal intern for them. During the first three weeks, I will go through their basic credit and lending information classes. After that, I will be sent to a few of the different branches throughout California and help put together the current appraisal projects they have in progress. I will be assisting the appraisers with reports from start to finish, including area information and comparable sales analysis.

Most Intriguing Aspect: What I like about American AgCredit is that it focuses on and caters to agriculture producers. They understand the problems agriculturalists face and know how to work with them. One part I like about this internship is that I will have opportunities to go out to the customer’s business and interact with them. Also, having the opportunity to work directly with appraisers to find out if this is a path I want to take is very ideal for an internship.

Advice for Younger Students: Ask your friends and family members what internships they did and see if any of them spark your interest. Go to career fairs and hand out your resume, even if you are only slightly interested in the internship.

Hilmar Cheese Company – Alexa Cabral
Hilmar, CA

Company Background: They are a cheese processing company that specializes in manufacturing cheddar and American cheese. Their products are marketed as both private label and through national brand and foodservice companies throughout the nation. They were founded in Hilmar in 1984, but they have expanded in recent years to include a facility in Dalhart, Texas. They annually produce more cheese from the facility in Hilmar than any other single site manufacturer in the world. They receive about 21 million pounds of milk from more than 230 dairies daily.

Responsibilities: I will be working with quality systems in the Hilmar office. It is an eight-week internship that will give me the opportunity to learn more about the company and industry as a whole. I will be involved in assisting with the sustainable production of quality cheese products.

Most Intriguing Aspect: I love that they are small scale and family focused. They have very strong ties with their producers. Also, I appreciate that they are growing with their new plant in Texas.

Advice for Younger Students: If you are interested in expanding your knowledge in a field, do an internship! I wish that I would have taken more opportunities while I was here at Cal Poly and done an internship sooner than my final summer in college.

Syngenta – Zack Weimortz
Northern California

Company Background: Syngenta is one of the world’s leading companies with more than 27,000 employees. They have a presence in approximately 90 countries. They are dedicated to the purpose of “bringing plant potential to life.” Their goal is to develop innovative products that help farmers grow more from less. The company headquarters are in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Responsibilities: I will be working as Syngenta’s Northern California sales intern. My daily duties will consist of many varying responsibilities, such as setting pest traps for our pest control product line, compiling company related data for publication and working with the regional sales reps in the field talking to growers and potential customers.

Most Intriguing Aspect: I am intrigued by the seeds sales spectrum, with everything from breeding to producing and marketing. I am interested in the technology that is developed to produce a plant with qualities and traits in an efferent manner – the benefit to the grower is astounding.

Advice for Younger Students: Experience is a must in this industry. My advice is to start internships or summer work that is related to your interests or area of study early. Also, never assume you will get a job just because of your resume – network, network, network! You should research any company you are interested and not be afraid to introduce yourself. Take advantage of the opportunity to talk with people at career fairs and meet and greet dinners; get to know representatives.

United States Congress – Nicole Billington
Washington, D.C.

Company Background: I’m not allowed to publicly affiliate myself with the Congressman before I begin my internship and am trained, but I will be working with a United States Congressman. He sits on the House Committee on Agriculture and represents his constituents on a number of other issues.

Responsibilities: As an intern, I will be attending hearings and authoring briefs for legislative staff, assisting with constituent correspondence, conducting tours of the U.S. Capitol and conducting policy research.

Most Intriguing Aspect: The agriculture policy issues on which I will be working intrigue me most.

Advice for Younger Students: Utilize your network. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people; they want to help you.

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