Agricultural internships are an invaluable opportunity for students to learn about companies in the field, develop professional skills, and build relationships with industry leaders. They also provide an opportunity for unique hands-on experiences. This summer, FFA members from throughout the state participated in internship programs with the California FFA Foundation’s corporate business partners, OUTSKIRTS and the Agricultural Council of California. Read about their experiences below.
AG INTERNSHIP FOCUSES ON ADVOCACY AT STATE CAPITOL
BY REAGAN DENNY, PAST STATE SENTINEL
After serving as a state officer, I began an internship with the Agricultural Council of California, as well as with the Northern California Water Association. Both these groups work hard to advocate for agriculture in our state's capitol. They know the issues facing farmers and are first in the room when a decision is being made that affects the future of agriculture. Three days a week I take a bus to Sacramento, where I sit across the street from the capitol and get to actively see the changes being made in that building affecting farming, transportation, labor, and other important issues.
Working for Ag Council, I have been able to learn more about the legislative and regulatory process by completing a variety of projects, from writing blog articles and memos to creating mini-biographies on legislature members. I even attended a hearing for the California State Water Resources Control Board, where board members advised on the SAFER program, which works to provide safe drinking water to citizens in rural communities. Similarly, for NCWA I have been creating memorandums, blogs, and designing infographics about disadvantaged communities in Northern California and what resources are available to help them. Every day, I eat lunch outside, look at the front steps of the capitol, and reflect on the people who have walked there and the impact they have made. Presidents, movie stars, even the queen of England have walked those steps. Soon, it will be our generation's turn to enter and decide what our future will look like. When it's our turn, I hope that building is full of FFA members. My time in FFA taught me to comfortably speak in public, research everything I say thoroughly, and most importantly, work hard. Those skills are essential in the legislature, as well as with the companies I intern for. FFA provides students like myself with the confidence to walk into a room and speak to people from all walks of life, no matter how different their opinions might be. I wouldn't be working at these internships without my time in FFA.
OUTSKIRTS AGRIBUSINESS MARKETING INTERNSHIP: HELPING FFA MEMBERS LEARN SKILLS FOR LIFE
BY MICAH BRADLEY, HANFORD FFA CHAPTER AND AIYANA MARTEL, COVINA FFA CHAPTER
This summer, we were part of a cohort of nineteen FFA members throughout California who participated in the OUTSKIRTS Agribusiness Marketing Internship. The paid internship was completed over six weeks in June and July. Little did we know that this internship would introduce us to how vast the agricultural marketing world is—we worked with a broad spectrum of agriculture businesses this summer. Not only did it prepare us for real-world marketing skills, but it also provided us with SAE hours.
OUTSKIRTS was established by Ag Source Magazine in 2019 and its internship program introduces marketing and business skills to FFA members. The program is designed to teach participants specific marketing techniques that can be applied to many different career paths. The internship was entirely remote, with weekly meetings online to catch up and review lessons about marketing. The remote format means FFA members throughout the state can participate—this year's cohort included interns from the Southern region up to the Superior region.
Each intern was tasked with creating ten spotlights on locally owned businesses in our community. These spotlights feature the best aspects of the business in 5-8 sentences while emphasizing importance of supporting businesses in our local communities. We reached out to business owners about the services and products they offer and how they serve their customers. Some of the businesses we featured included Glendora Gardens, Rancho Vasquez Avocados, Grabow Well Drilling, and Champi Fencing. Each spotlight was accompanied by a photo, and we learned how to take high-quality photos that accentuate the business's products. The spotlights written about the businesses were then turned into marketing ads to promote the business in Ag Source Magazine.
According to Carlos Gonzalez from the Righetti FFA Chapter in Santa Maria, creating local business spotlights gave interns an in-depth look at how businesses in the agricultural industry work and operate while also providing a sense of satisfaction in supporting the ag industry. “I knew that this was something I was going to love. My main focus was to give up-and-coming businesses a step up the success ladder to reach their potential goal. I found myself doing that exactly,” said Gonzalez. The spotlights for this season have all been published on outskirts.com and will be used for a supplemental ad campaign for months to come.
Many of the interns participated in this internship for the sole purpose of gaining experience and fulling SAE hours, however, there were many added benefits than just experience. The interns also built relationships and created connections with their communities. “My favorite part of the internship was learning each business's and person's unique story and observing how these businesses are their owner's life—their passion, talents, and the product of their labor," said Elk Grove FFA member Samantha Albiani. "I would definitely recommend this internship to others, both to improve and learn about marketing skills and connect with their community." FFA members interested in participating in the OUTSKIRTS Internship Program in 2023 can learn more by visiting outskirts.com.
2022 FFA Student Interns: Aiyana Martel, Covina FFA; Aleyda Ceballos, Tulare FFA; Allison McCray, McKinleyville FFA; Canon Costa, Tulare FFA; Carlos Gonzalez, Santa Maria-Righetti FFA; Diego Mantelli, Campbell FFA; Elizabeth Quintero-Rubio, Dinuba FFA; Hannah Smith, Delta FFA; Jillian Fernandes, Tulare FFA; Kayden Meneses, Visalia-Central Valley Christian FFA; Layla Vahedi, San Marcos FFA; Leonarda Verni, San Joaqion Memorial FFA; Meika Lauppe, East Nicolaus FFA; Micah Bradley, Hanford FFA; Michaela Franco, Tulare FFA; Morgan Nicklaus, Palo Verde-Bylthe FFA; Samantha Albiani, Elk Grove FFA; Siena Boscaro, San Luis Obispo FFA; Yazmin Magana, Santa Paula FFA