Applications due for On-Farm Internship Program

Center for Dairy Excellence

Marie Bryant, Penn State University

Undergraduate students who are interested in gaining hands-on experience in dairy production are encouraged to apply for the 2021 On-Farm Internship program. Applications are due by October 31, 2020 and can be submitted online. The program was designed to provide 10- to 12-week on-farm internships to the next generation of dairy managers in Pennsylvania. The Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania (PDMP), Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association, and Dairy Excellence Foundation partner each year to support this program.

“This program is an excellent way for students to learn from some of the most progressive dairy farms in the industry,” said Dave Smith, Executive Director at the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association. “Students who are selected for the program will be exposed to all aspects of dairy production throughout their summer internship, making it an ideal opportunity for students who are looking to broaden their skillsets as well as students who want to gain experience with dairy farming practices outside the classroom.”

Participating students receive a $3,000 stipend in addition to compensation from their host farms. To apply, students must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Must attend a Pennsylvania university
  • Must be a Pennsylvania resident attending an out-of-state school
  • Must be a recently graduated Pennsylvania resident with an interest in dairy production.
  • Note: Preference is given to upperclassmen undergraduates.

By completing an on-farm internship, students benefit from:

  • Exposure to new dairy operations. “I come from a small dairy farm, but I wanted to get experience at a bigger level to see what I could bring to the table and also what I could learn from [my host farm].” –Lily Fries, a 2020 on-farm intern
  • Real-world experience to boost their credibility. “I want to go into some sort of consulting after I graduate. Since I don’t come from a dairy background, I wanted more experience working on a farm so I have more credibility and actual real-life experiences –not just a college education – when I go into consulting farmers.” –Marie Bryant, a 2020 on-farm intern





  • Research projects and goal-setting. “I really enjoyed the research side. It was fun. I kind of took the research project further to ask more questions. For example, we have activity monitors on the cows, so I looked at how their eating times correlate with their likelihood of becoming ketotic. The summer helped clarify that I really do like working on the animal side of things.” –Drew Walton, a 2020 on-farm intern
  • Opportunity to travel outside the state. “The internship allowed me to get out of my comfort zone. I got to travel and go somewhere different. One of my favorite things is going to a new farm and seeing what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Every single farm is different and has something new to offer. It was a great way to go out and see how a dairy producer is doing it.” –Dominic Mattilio, a 2020 on-farm intern
  • Networking with industry professionals. “I was able to see people come through who have other careers in the dairy industry that I didn’t even think about before. Talking to them and making connections was really helpful. I wouldn’t have gotten that without the internship.” – Rebecca Burns, a 2020 on-farm intern
  • Confidence and personal growth. “I grew so much as a person in the weeks I was at my internship. I felt significantly more confident in myself and my abilities. I learned so many things, and it was really amazing.” –Stephanie Clouser, a 2020-on farm intern





Students who are accepted into the 2021 program will be paired with host farms that can help them solidify their career goals. Throughout the summer, interns will participate in discussion groups and work with their host farm to complete an in-depth research project that benefits the dairy operation.

Student applications are due by October 31, 2020 and can be submitted online. Visit www.centerfordairyexcellence.org/internship to apply and learn more about the program. Contact Heidi Zimmerman at hzimmerman1@centerfordairyexcellence.org or 717-346-0849 with questions.

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