NATIONAL ANGUS ASSOCIATION’S TALON INTERSHIP PROGRAM CONNECTS STUDENTS WITH HOST FARMS
Growing up with a small herd of cattle on her family farm, Makinzie France (Ag Econ: Applied Economics/Agronomy: Crop/Soil Mgmt, Macy, IN) knew that at some point in her life she wanted to go work somewhere that ran a large amount of cattle and used innovative ideas and technologies. Her initial plan was for that to happen post college, but that changed when she met the National Angus Association staff at AFA Leaders conference.
During the Fall semester, Makinzie interned through the Angus Foundation, an affiliate of the American Angus Association, as a part of the Talon Internship Program. This program was started by Kam Cooper who had a drive to educate young people about the industry, thus starting an endowment fund. The Talon program allows farms to apply as hosts and students to apply to intern on an operation where they are then matched up. After hearing about this at AFA, Makinzie came home and thought about it, discussed it with Jo Thomas, her advisor, and decided to apply. She was accepted into the program and placed on an angus seedstock operation in Berryville, VA called Audley Farms/Audley Angus.
Throughout her time in Virginia, Makinzie learned a lot and made a lot of memories. She mentioned, “Some of my favorite experiences were working with embryos, AI-ing cows, and chopping season.” She also attended the Angus Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she got to connect with fellow producers and learn the latest information about the Angus breed. She also said that an incredibly valuable takeaway for her was learning to take chances and get out of your comfort zone. “I know everyone always says that, but honestly now that I have done it, I cannot be more grateful. I have been able to have hands on experience that I would not receive in a classroom or even on other operations.”
Makinzie said that after this experience, she can see herself considering a career in the cattle industry, even the Angus breed. “This position has connected me with people in the Angus industry I would have never met without this internship. Those connections have opened doors for careers that I can pursue in the future.” While she does not know what path her career will take exactly, she is hopeful that it will all work out in the end, and her advice to other students is, “Make decisions off your happiness and you will never regret it!”