When a friend asked my advice about getting into a graduate program in Agriculture, I suggested that he investigate securing an internship on a working farm to bolster his credibility. Since I happen to be a member of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm near Nevada City, California, I decided to chat with one of the interns and get the lowdown on the hoedown.
Here’s what I learned:
The internship program is six months long—without pay.
Only six internships were available. Seventy prospective farmer-hopefuls applied.
One of the six successful applicants already had a bachelor’s degree in agriculture.
Five of the six successful applicants had prior experience working on farms.
It’s TOUGH to land an internship at a top-notch farm like Riverhill.
I talked for a while with “Drew,” a polite young man who was willing to step into the shade for a few moments of conversation. He said that he was the only one of the six successful applicants without prior experience. I asked him what he thought made the difference. What was it that jumped him ahead of more experienced applicants. He shook his head in that kind of slow-farmer way.
“Well, gosh, I guess Alan (the farmer) just liked where I was coming from.”
Hmmmm. Maybe you should decide where you’re coming from before asking the farmer to show you which end of the hoe goes into the dirt.
Here’s another thought. Maybe my advice was backwards. Maybe you should get the graduate degree first, and then try to get an internship at Riverhill, not the other way around.
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