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Farm Internship in IL.

Posted: Monday, February 8, 2021

Farm Internship

We farm 1000 acres of row crops, have 140 cow herd - both spring & fall calving on 500 acres of pasture.  We feed some of our own cattle & sell to Tyson.  I occasionally feed cattle in Neb or KS.    Oldest daughter Marie just got married in December & works for Bayer (formerly Monsanto) Youngest daughter Renee is a Junior at University of Illinois studying agriculture.    Our show barn contains Simmental, Hereford, Red or Black Angus and crossbred heifers that show at state & national level.  I AI ~ 60 cows per year, & put in ~40 embryos via local vet.  Goal for summer 2021 is put in 40 embryos & AI ~ 60 head.   Wife Carol is high school librarian / teacher with dairy background.  Our farm is staffed by 2-4 part time helpers in spring & fall mostly college students & my retired neighbor that drives the semi.  I also have a railroad car unloading / cleaning service for ag related products that keeps us busy at least 1 day per week. 

 Our 2021 plan is to break & make show or sale ready half dozen baby calves.   Renee needs show barn help for 5 show heifers.  I need help with my AI & ET goals - setting up recips, heat detection, and herd health on commercial cow herd.  We do not ride horses but do ride Hondas. 

Pay is $400 / week, we work till dark usually but do not start till 8AM, but if ya need a weekend off - no problem.  Lodging is free in upstairs of our modern farm home in a room next to Renee with a shared bathroom, so internship is only open to female students.  We also have a hunting cabin that is nice.  It is in the middle of a cow pasture & somewhat remote & creepy if you do not like coyote howling.  Most interns prefer staying with us.  Meals provided, although we do not have sit down type meals often, Carol just fixes something & the rest of us graze.   We feed hay, silage, corn by products, & non-conventional feeds (this week 4 tons of organic apple puree from a ship accident from Chile,). 

Our GPS location is;

40°37'27.8"N 90°24'33.9"W

 This is an old link, but tells what we doing 13 years ago

http://www.centurycorn.jp/introducingkentlockframe.htm

http://roquetteuniversity.com/presenters/kent-lock

Carol & I place a high value on education.  Interns need to be BQA certified http://www.bqa.org/   If not - I will pay for your training if it works out time & location wise.  I just termed off the board of directors of IL Beef Assn where I was in charge of setting up BQA training in this part of state.  

One of your assignments will be write 2 blogs (3 paragraphs or so with pictures), an introduction blog, and a *what I learned* blog for a couple of grocery store chains' in Japan website.   I have been writing to them for 16 years & they enjoy reading blogs from a source other than Kent - especially interns.  Depending on what the translator does - you can see your writing in Japanese.  It is sort of cool to link to a Japanese food site & see yourself.  Interns are welcome to artificially inseminate cull cows that happen to come in heat in our feedlot then we pregnancy check the cows at the end of internship for success rate.

The only rules we have are in the interest of safety and good taste for our foreign visitors; no drugs, no tattoos, no shorts while working, solid toed shoes, shirts with sleeves / short sleeves are OK, no loose jewelry.  Illinois is a hands free state so if you are addicted to perpetually checking your cell phone you will be putting the safety of those around you at risk.  We strive to be safe & professional while emphasizing situational awareness.  You may bring guns, & show heifer. 

Amtrak has a station near here at Galesburg, IL.   The train to Chicago takes 90 minutes & is low cost.  We include interns in our recreational activities. 

COVID:

CV busted our plans for 2020.   Cattle shows were cancelled, cattle sales changed a lot, plans to visit the Nebraska feedyard & places in Canada where we do cattle biz all got busted.  We do not wear masks & are pretty sure we all got CV back in March.  We do plan on getting vaccinated.    Our area has a low number of CV cases.  Our sheriff is cool & does not enforce the state wide mandate for masks indoor public places.   Our governor is not cool & comes up with non sense CV prevention ideas.  Intern safety & health is paramount. Should you be stricken by COVID while here have some hospitalization insurance already in place so there will be no hesitation on getting proper health care.

I have modified the 2021 intern goals & objectives to reflect what is realistic within the realm of CV restrictions.  Our pledge to the 2021 intern is to substitute something enjoyable for anything that stifles our plans due to CV.  We work hard, hard, drink beer, shoot guns, listen to rock & roll and go to church on Sunday.  Carol lets the 2 dogs come in the house during bad weather, and we have 2 or 3 house cats.   Allergy alert for pet hair & penicillin.  We use liquid penicillin here for treatment of calf scours & some wounds.

A Japanese chicken farmer who feeds our corn has a niece that is stranded in the US.  She is not allowed to return to Japan due to CV.   Her uncle (who has been here many times) has asked if she can stay with us a few weeks to learn about Midwest livestock & the ice cream business from our neighbor.  She was supposed to arrive in December which got changed to March which got changed to “summer”.    If she does come to our farm it will not change intern activities, only adding to the experience of feeding & fueling the world.

Intern major work activities, duties, & responsibilities:

Internship only open to female students due to lodging with our daughter in our home.

Beef Cattle related tasks

Support / management of 140 head beef cattle herd, 20 head show cattle herd, & 100 head feedlot.  Duties include daily feeding, check for health / wellbeing, heat detection; give injections associated with estrus synchronization of embryo recipients; monitor heat cycle of embryo recip cows, synchronize estrus / observe heats for artificial insemination of replacement heifers & cows; daily hair care of a few show heifers and half dozen show quality baby calves; process newborn calves with vaccinations, ear tag, iodine navels; fence building, pasture management & fertility;  calf health protocols;  artificial insemination if intern wants some “arm time”.   Ideal candidate would be in charge of recipient cow herd with a goal of transferring 40 frozen embryos.

Feed, Forage, & grain related tasks;

Operate tractor planting soybeans in no till environment.    Monitor development of hay fields & operate hay harvest equipment.  Operate upright silo equipment while unloading corn silage, assist in harvesting of cereal rye silage / storage in upright silo.   Load feed wagons with a diverse mix of corn & soybean by products from local grain processors.   Assist in small acreage wheat harvest that includes straw harvest for cattle bedding.  Become party to owners’ conversations regarding price negotiator of feed, grains, & fed cattle with packer buyers.

Other farm related tasks;

Assist in railcar loading / unloading of grain, feed, & fertilizer.  Write 2 blog entries for grocery stores & non GMO food interests in Tokyo Japan area – an “arrival” at Lock farm blog and an “exit” blog facilitated through translators that Kent Lock works with.  Become proficient with coyote eradication – being able to shoot a coyote with my high powered rifle when one is spotted in the cow pasture.  Plus a whole bunch of other cool stuff J

Passport is not required, but if you have one bring it, as I do some business in Canada.

Goals & Objectives;

Subjective:

Become a safe & efficient agriculturist.

Adaptation of a global way of thinking about how US / midwest agriculture fits into the world’s food supply.  This fosters an appreciation of the land, and the value chain that links farmers with consumers.

Objective:

Practical knowledge of beef cow / calf/ feedlot operation that manifests itself in intern being able to tell a prospective employer in the beef industry “I can do that because I have done that before in Illinois”

Gain an understanding of how grain & cattle are linked in Midwest farms

Adapt confidence to become a self-starter when interacting with the various enterprises of a Midwest grain & beef & show cattle farm.

This internship is not an entry level one or one to explore what life is like on a farm.   The internship is an excellent opportunity to build on the skill sets that you already have.  It is an excellent opportunity to engage tasks that you have always wanted to do – “but dad wouldn’t let you because that was *his* job”.  It is an excellent opportunity to apply what college has taught you.  It is an excellent opportunity to be a functioning part of Midwest agriculture…feeding & fueling the world.    Interns leave here saying “this has been the best experience of my life.”

If you have cattle show experience and will be eligible for “Jr.” shows in summer 2021 or have judging experience be sure to include that in a cover letter.

Interns come here to learn from us.   We have interns so we can learn from them.

Apply via resume & cover letter, including references to;

kentlock1@gmail.com