By Laurie Bedord, Chair, Future Agricultural Communicators
Have you considered hosting an intern but weren’t quite sure if it would be worth the time and effort? Rather than try to convince you that becoming a host for an AAEA Ag Communicators Network intern is a worthwhile endeavor, I’m going to let comments from recent participants in the program do the convincing for me.
“U.S. Wheat Associates gave me every opportunity to learn new skills and to build on my current ones,” says Dylan Davidson, Texas Tech University. “During my internship, I had the chance to learn firsthand about communication efforts in the agriculture industry with foreign customers. I not only got to participate in current communication efforts, but also helped plan future communication efforts including a video series. This allowed me to share my knowledge and experience in this area. I cannot express how thankful I am to everyone at U.S. Wheat Associates for making my internship such an amazing experience.”
“Dylan had a great attitude throughout his internship considering the circumstances and was very eager to work and learn,” says Amanda Spoo, Director of Communications, U.S. Wheat Associates. “His video production and editing skills were particularly invaluable, as our organization had to quickly shift in order to continue to carry out our mission and ongoing activities. He was very teachable and always asked great questions focused on the opportunity to improve. He was also confident in his ability to think critically and share his own input and ideas. Dylan was a very dynamic and professional asset to our team this summer, and we’ve asked him to continue doing some freelance work for us moving forward.”
While Davidson was able to travel to Virginia for his internship, the editorial communications internship pivoted to a virtual format. This switch allowed Jessica Wesson, University of Arkansas, to rotate between Successful Farming, Farm Progress, and DTN Progressive Farmer during her eight week assignment.
“I was blessed to work for three of the industry’s most respected agriculture publications,” Wesson says. “At each publication, I was able to learn about the writing and editing process. I was also responsible for interviewing subjects and writing stories as assigned, as well as generating my own story ideas. I met virtually with writers, photographers, graphic designers, and other professionals to discuss their daily duties and how they contributed to the website and/or magazine.”
One of her favorite assignments involved covering a story about how COVID-19 was affecting livestock shows around the nation. “I was able to interview a farm family from my hometown about their experience with the livestock show industry and the changes throughout the pandemic,” Wesson says. “It was inspiring to see young children working hard with their animals despite the fact that they may not get to show them.”
It also opened her eyes to the myriad career paths in our industry. “I didn’t know there were so many areas outside of writing within a publication,” Wesson says. “I was exciting to learn about the different opportunities.”
There’s no doubt having an intern is a lot of work. But as you can see, what both Dylan and Jessica – and the many interns before them – get out of these experiences is priceless!
It’s your company’s turn to take a front row seat. . . see firsthand as that aspiring ag communicator develops and hones his or her skills thanks to the guidance, expertise, and mentoring your organization provides.
The application deadline to host either the 2021 AAEA Ag Communicators Network editorial or marketing communications intern is Monday, November 9, 2020.
Don’t miss your opportunity to make a difference!