A farm kid's guide to finding your dream internship

Maria Wingert

Maria Wingert

Written by Maria Wingert

As a college student, I know how stressful the job hunt can be. Whether it’s an internship or a full-time position, finding a place where you can happily spend 80 percent of your summer (or your life) can be an intense pursuit.

Resumes and the dreaded cover letter aside, sometimes finding the actual position you want to apply for can be the most difficult part. There are thousands of different places to look for openings, but how do you know where to go to find that dream company? It can get confusing, frustrating, and downright exhausting.

Luckily, like many other students, I had an amazing network of professionals that were able to guide me into an internship, where I grew more comfortable with agriculture and the people that work in all aspects of agriculture production, innovation, and communication.

I have been working around farmers and other agriculture professionals for years, but it wasn’t until this past year that I realized just how unique the people in this line of work are. While searching for an internship last fall, I sought out a contact of mine that had recently started working at CHS Inc., the largest farmer-owned cooperative in the U.S. and a business I desperately wanted an internship at. She was able to refer me to the talent acquisition team, as well as individuals that worked in the department I was interested in.

After applying, interviewing, and receiving the official offer, I accepted my dream internship here at CHS. I would have never had the opportunity to pursue my current internship without that initial referral from that friend of mine, but am so grateful I did.

The individuals involved in agriculture are one of a kind. Whether they work in production, communication, or any other facet of agriculture, professionals in this line of work are constantly looking to help younger students succeed. So, if you’re considering agriculture, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Professionals realize that growing a network is crucial, just as much for them as it is for you.

Likewise, don’t hesitate to apply at an agriculture company if you didn’t grow up on a farm or have an agriculture related major.

Talent comes in many shapes and forms, and agriculture companies need more than an intern that did chores at home. In my internship I am writing, developing marketing materials, and planning events. While my experience in agriculture increases my knowledge of the larger picture, it was not a prerequisite to being offered the internship.

Agriculture is an amazing place to find a career, no matter what your interests are. The individuals that work here are truly passionate about their line of work, as well as helping students find theirs.

They might even help you perfect that dreaded cover letter!

Maria Wingert is a student at the University of Minnesota and a 2014-15 Minnesota Corn Growers Association student Agvocate.

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