​AGEC student’s manufacturing sector internship

Written by Kendell Combs, Junior, Agribusiness Management & Agricultural Communication

For the summer of 2018, Cameron Kline (Junior; Agribusiness Management; Goshen, IN) was a manufacturing intern for Dairy Farmers of America in Goshen, IN. The Goshen DFA plant is primarily a milk powder manufacturing plant. It is a 24/7 plant with three 8-hour shifts. They own the country’s largest dryer where they turn raw milk into non-fat dry milk. 

Cameron’s main project during the summer was to create an evaluation system that would determine whether an incoming or new employee was qualified to perform his or her duties without any supervision. There are various areas of the plant: milk receiving and loadouts, evaporator, dryer, and powder packaging, and each area had specific duties. He created a qualification process including a list of jobs/duties and procedures that an employee must perform without any supervision for each area. To accomplish this, Cameron spent a week talking to the supervisors and veteran employees in these positions. This helped him learn how things should be done. His project was very important to the plant because new employees train on the 1st shift and then are moved to 2nd or 3rd shift where management is not present.

Another project Cameron worked on was figuring out where the plant was losing money from product loses. The product has to meet the specs such as weight and quality before being shipped out. Through this project, he found that after the dry milk is bagged, the powder continues to dry out. Therefore, they were drying the powder in the dryer more than they needed to. “This ended up saving the company time and money in the process of drying the milk, ultimately leading to being able to send out product faster."

Cameron’s favorite part of his internship was getting to spend the day riding around with a field representative where they visited many farms across northeast Indiana. He also got to attend the Mideast Leadership Conference in Columbus, Ohio, where he learned about the future plans with DFA and what the future of the industry looks like. Through this trip, Cameron was able to meet with a field representative manager about a possible field representative position with DFA. 

This internship showed Cameron the ends and outs of the food manufacturing process. Cameron grew up around dairy farms, but he never knew much about what happened to the product after it left the farm. With the DFA, he learned the importance of teamwork and how “communication, dedication and accountability were key aspects of getting the work done efficiently.”

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