This summer, the University of Wyoming Extension, in partnership with local producers and the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, launched the GrowinG Internship program for beginning ranchers and farmers.
The program is intended to help beginning farmers and ranchers gain meaningful experience in agriculture by providing hands-on internships at working farms and ranches. The GrowinG project operates in cooperation with state producer organizations and educational institutions.
Partners include the Wyoming Stock Grower’s Association, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Wyoming Wool Growers, and Wyoming Crop Improvement Association, as well as Wyoming FFA and 4-H programs. Currently seven interns have been paired with agricultural businesses at various locations across the state.
Tim Bauer of Boulder, Wyoming, is interning in Sublette County; Jackson Haskell, a student at Sheridan College, in Washakie County; Jamie Kaste of Cheyenne in Sheridan County; Makenna McGraw, a UW student, in Converse County; Elijah Richardson of central Arkansas in Fremont County; Titus Schadegg of Casper in Big Horn County; and Samuel Warneke of York, Nebraska, in Goshen County.
Eligible applicants are individuals 18 years or older who identify as ready to begin farming or have been involved in farming or ranching for less than 10 years. Applications remain open for candidates interested in joining this summer’s program.
Accepted candidates work with the site host to establish start and end dates once a stipend has been awarded. Interns spend about 90 days on a host farm or ranch, learning from the manager and others while assisting with daily activities like branding, fencing, and irrigating.
Taking part in at least one agricultural educational event, such as a UW Extension workshop or Wyoming Stock Grower’s Convention, within the time frame of the internship is also expected.
Throughout their internship, participants are required to document their learning experiences. “Work summaries are required weekly and are rolling in fast, now that the internships have begun,” notes John Hewlett, project co-coordinator and ranching and farming specialist at UW.
“Weekly work summaries will help the intern reflect on day-to-day work and educational experiences throughout the duration of internship,” says Ben Rashford, head of the UW Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and one of the project coordinators. “Summaries will be posted to the project site to help others understand the benefits of participation.”
GrowinG interns who are also degree-seeking students are encouraged to seek academic credit for participating in the GrowinG Internship Program. Academic credit must be arranged in advance between the student and an academic advisor with the granting educational institution.
Online application forms for interns and hosts are available at GrowinG-WY.org. The project website also offers links to a collection of monthly articles and resources intended to assist beginning farmers and ranchers meet the challenges of getting started in agriculture.