Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture

WEBIMG 3972.JPGAgriculture graduate student Clarissa Menefee is interning with Rocking R Whitetails, located in the hill country town of Mountain Home, through the month of August. Rocking R is a whitetail breeding operation specializing in breeding bucks that will be competitive in the deer industry. We reached out to her to learn more about her experience in this expanding niche of Texas agriculture.

Can you tell us about your role at Rocking R Whitetails?
Interns are responsible for feeding all the deer every day, tagging new fawns daily, counting and making sure all fawns are accounted for every day, and other odd jobs around the ranch. There are 175 does to fawn so we will have around 200 fawns by the end of this internship. We have had deer die, treated sick deer and fawns, learned how to shoot a dart gun, and many other things that pertain to the deer industry.

This internship has shown me a very different side of the agriculture industry. Texas is one of the largest deer producing states in the country; and, honestly, I had no idea until I took this internship. It is very different from what I am used to but it definitely opens your eyes to new opportunities in our field of agriculture.

What is your favorite aspect of this internship?
Probably the best part of this internship is getting to play with fawns! We have bottle babies we are responsible for that keep us very busy. They are the most fun yet time consuming part of our life on the ranch. Bottle babies have to be fed every 4 hours, which takes up a lot of your day, but they are so cute it helps you wake up when you have to feed them at 7am every day.

How did you learn about the internship?
I learned about this internship from one of my friends who had applied for this job. She told me that they were looking for another person with agriculture experience. I applied and we both got the job. Honestly, I wasn’t even planning on having an internship this summer but I just took the chance and applied. It has been a very challenging and exciting experience so far. It is definitely a good way to try out a different field of agriculture you are not familiar with.

Nathan and Christy Ross (the owners) are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. They are so nice and always very helpful. They are always there to help and teach us everything there is to know about the deer industry.

imagejpeg 0 (1).jpgJunior horticulture major Hailey Dunbar completed a three-month internship with Moore Farms Botanical Garden in Lake City, South Carolina. Aside from her primary duties, she also had the opportunity to visit numerous gardens and work with horticulture professionals from across the Carolinas and Florida. We caught up with her before she heads off to the Perennial Plant Association National Symposium in Chicago, Illinois.


What where your duties as an intern?
My duties as an intern were to maintain, design, identify, inventory, and propagate plants and landscapes. I also was responsible for identifying pests and diseases in some areas, as well as developing possible treatments for the affected plants.                

What was your favorite aspect of the internship?
My favorite part of the internship was the level of exposure to other horticultural areas and gardens Moore Farms promoted. The internship included educational trips to Raleigh, North Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, and Florida. In Raleigh, the other interns and I were part of a work exchange program with the J.C. Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University. We worked for 3 days with their staff, learned a lot, and got to experience the atmosphere and work style of another garden. During this time, we also visited Plant Delights nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden near NC State. The Florida trip is designed to get the interns out of the state and see other botanical gardens and nurseries across the United States. We will visit Coastal Georgia Botanic Garden, Bok Tower Gardens, Tropiflora Nursery, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, The Kampong of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, and Fruit and Spice Park. The trip Columbia was also meant for further garden exposure, for which we visited Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden.

I visited several areas personally, including Hoffman Nursery and the UNCC Botanical Garden in North Carolina. I will also be attending the annual Perennial Plant Association National Symposium in Chicago, Illinois on a scholarship. During this trip I will visit Intrinsic Perennial Gardens in Illinois; Northwind Perennial Farm, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, and Rotary Botanical Gardens in Wisconsin; Lurvey's, the Chicago Botanic Garden, Chalet Nursery & Garden Center, and Lurie Garden and Millennium Park in Illinois; and Midwest Groundcovers, Walters Gardens, Hansen Private Garden, and Sawyer Home & Garden Center in Michigan. The symposium will include 3 days of horticultural presentations and keynote speakers as well.

In total, I have or will visit approximately 25 gardens, nurseries, and parks.

How was this experience beneficial to your undergraduate career?
This internship gave me valuable hands-on experience at a beautiful garden and gave me a first-hand look into the functionality of a horticultural workspace. I learned a vast amount of pertinent information on horticulture, entomology, design, and much more. I also received beneficial involvement in interpersonal and small group communication and cooperation, as many tasks involved several people working together. I feel extremely grateful for all of the information, opportunities, and connections I received. It was especially wonderful to see so many gardens and nurseries outside of Texas. The staff at Moore Farms Botanical Garden is amazing, and they made all the interns feel welcome and like part of the staff. The environment was cheerful, helpful, and the whole staff constantly encouraged us to keep learning and working directly with the landscapes. I would highly recommend this internship to anyone in horticulture.

IMG 5585webThis summer, agribusiness senior Ian Brock completed an internship at the Broiler Research Center located at the Walter C. Todd Agricultural Research Center. During Brock’s time there, he contributed to the valuable ongoing research that occurs through the SFA Department of Agriculture. We reached out to him to learn more about his work:

Tell us about the research you completed during this internship:
I have been working at the farm since my second semester of freshmen year, but the research trial I conducted began in May of this year.

My duties during my internship were to tend to the birds daily. The main focus of my internship was to test a litter system called the deep litter system to see how it compares to the conventional litter system seen in a normal broiler house. We tested for the betterment of bird health, as well as economic feasibility.             

This was very eye opening for me to be a part of. I was able to apply almost all of the skills and knowledge I have learned while at SFA and put it in a real-world perspective.

What was your favorite aspect of this internship?
My favorite part of the internship was being able to be a part of the research process and coming up with results when we analyzed the numbers. I liked being able to have real data to compare and contrast the differences in the two litter systems.

I learned to work a research protocol and use a spreadsheet in excel with real numbers that we collected. It was very interesting and exciting for me to experience, and I was able to use what I have learned through my agribusiness studies in an actual real-world scenario.

Do you have any additional comments?
I would tell someone who is coming into the Department of Agriculture who might not have an extensive background in agriculture to not be discouraged. There is so much to learn and a lot of exciting things to fall in love with in the agriculture field. A lack of experience shouldn’t keep you away from the field if you have any interest in it.

17554483 674832366045538 8504673469243992345 nAnimal Science senior Kelsey Chatigny completed a four-month internship as a foaling and breeding attendant with McQuay Stables, a state-of-the-art Reining and Hunter & Jumper training, sales and breeding facility, located in Tioga, TX. Before she returns to SFA for the fall semester, we caught up with her to learn more about her time at McQuay Stables, as well as her future plans in the equine industry.

What where your duties as an intern?
As an intern I handled basic feeding in grooming for the 100 head of mares that were bred last year. Many were recipient mares and others were owned by the McQuays. Day in and day out I would feed, do turnouts and then give medications to mares. Every other day was labeled as a collection day, and the remaining days the reproduction veterinarian came out to check the mares. I began on midnight shifts after a couple of days and helped foal out 34 mares over the course of the internship. I was lucky and had an amazing boss who allowed me to shadow a bladder surgery, as well as give Amikacin infusions on mares we just bred. I collected almost all of the studs on property, assisted the farrier and taught a 2-year-old stud colt how to mount a dummy. I even collected a stallion and successfully bred it to a mare hours later. Once foals were born I got them started off right with imprinting and halter breaking. It is definitely a wonderful and engaging learning experience.                                                                                      

How has this experience benefitted your undergraduate career?
It gave me a hands-on view of how the equine industry works, allowing me to apply the knowledge I obtained taking equine reproduction classes at SFA. It also opened my eyes to the management of a breeding farm and helped me see that there are plenty of routes to go about getting into this line of business. Getting the hands-on experiences that internships provide really puts you ahead of the game and gives you a foothold into the industry you want to work in after college.

What was your favorite part about the internship?
I would have to say that my favorite part of the internship was all of the different experiences. It was all extremely valuable knowledge that I had learned about in the classroom, but the skills were solidified when I got to do it all myself. I also became aware of how every single animal I handled behaved differently and how their individual experiences shaped their personalities.