Where did you grow up?
I grew up near St. Peter, MN, a small town very close to the Le Sueur location! I grew up on my family’s crop and dairy farm.
Where did you go to school and what for?
After I graduated from St. Peter High School in 2018, I started attending the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. My initial major was Animal Science, with a Dairy Production emphasis. I later added an Agronomy minor, and just this past year, I added Agricultural Food and Business Management as my double major.
Tell us about your internship, how it came about, what it was in, etc.
I found Agropur at a career fair hosted on campus back in the fall of last year. I talked with the representative and got an interview, which eventually led to the opportunity for me to intern at the Le Sueur Cheese location. For my internship, my official title was Operations Intern, and at first, I naturally assumed that I would be doing something related to the cheese making process. Still, I wasn’t entirely sure what that would look like.
What types of things did you work on and how was the working environment?
I started my internship working in the milk receiving area. I spent a little over a month in this department, learning how things worked on the department’s pasteurized side. Although I’m not licensed to pull raw milk samples from trucks, I did what I could to help the operators, and I asked as many questions as I could to understand what they were doing and why. On the pasteurized side, I primarily dealt with trucks that were either bringing a product to the plant or, more often, taking a product out of the plant. I became familiar with the different procedures for loading and unloading the different products and filling out the paperwork that corresponded to each product to perform this job. I really enjoyed the working environment in the milk receiving area. All of the operators were more than willing to help me out when I needed it and were very knowledgeable when it came to answering my many questions. After my time in the milk receiving area, I moved to the make room. I feel as though this was a good transition point. With all of my background knowledge on the plant that I was able to gain from working in milk receiving, I quickly understood the process that was happening in the vats and in the tables. My role in the make room until very recently was to assist the table operators and learn from them. Even though I was working with the tables, I was also able to frequently ask the vat operator’s questions about what they were doing regarding the HTST. The working environment has been great up to this point. I’ve been working with operators that care about what they’re doing and are always willing to help me better understand something.
During the last couple of weeks of my internship, I have been doing a few different things. For a couple of days last week, I shadowed one of the supervisors just watching and learning from him. I was able to see every part of the plant and have each part broken down for me to understand better what they were doing and how each part fit together. During the last two weeks of my internship, I will be with the operator who makes the starter culture used in the vats, and I will be working with the vat operators to learn more about what they do with the vats and HTST.
Why do you love Agropur?
I love Agropur because they have a strong dedication to their employees and their patrons and produce products that are useful for the world.