June 13 2024 11:32 AM

Summer opportunities are endless when it comes to the dairy industry.

School is out for the summer, and many kids are excited be spending less time sitting behind a desk and more time outside. Many hiring opportunities are available over the next three months, making this the perfect time for students to earn a little extra cash. One of the busiest times of year in agriculture just so happens to be in the summertime — making it the perfect opportunity for students to dip their toes into the industry and get hands-on experience.

Generally, most colleges or universities require the completion of an internship (or two) prior to graduation. Internships not only help students gain real-world experience, but they also serve as a gateway for networking, provides an edge compared to your peers, and helps build relationships and confidence. The two internships I completed served as a complete wake-up call and allowed me to uncover what sectors of the agriculture industry I was interested in and those I was not.

Throughout my middle school, high school, and college years, I had the chance to explore various internships and summer jobs that allowed me to expand my knowledge of agriculture. For a few summers I had the opportunity to milk on various farms. This was a neat experience because every producer runs their operation a bit differently — what works for one producer might not work for another. Working in the industry during the summer also allowed me to learn various aspects of dairy farming such as milking, recording keeping, harvesting, and crops.

A summer job or internship can provide a glimpse at what work-life balance looks like prior to entering the workforce. Working alongside professionals could potentially help you further your career down the road. It is also not uncommon for employers to hire people who have previously completed internships or worked for their company in past years.

If you are interested in agriculture and don’t quite know where to start, consider working a summer job somewhere in the dairy industry. Many ag businesses welcome students with open arms. Most dairy farms could use an extra hand milking, helping with harvest, cleaning, doing record keeping, or more on the farm. Working in an agricultural related field throughout the summer might open doors you never thought possible!

Jenna Byrne

Jenna Byrne is an associate editor for Hoard’s Dairyman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 2022, majoring in agricultural business with an emphasis in communications and marketing. She grew up on her family’s dairy farm near Neillsville, Wis.