A Minute with Maddi

10-04-2023 in Communications Internship

By Maddilyn Klemme, 2023 CSIF Communications Intern

Summer always brings many new experiences to college students across the nation. This summer was no exception for me as I started my communications internship with the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF). Throughout my summer I was given many new and exciting opportunities. These opportunities have followed me and will continue to follow me into my academic and professional work.

Traveling. This summer brought a new type of work setting to me. Instead of being at a desk five days a week, I was hitting the road and getting the chance to visit farmers. Many of these visits to farmers were to award them the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award. Each farm operation was different and had a different story worth sharing. Getting to hear firsthand how proud and humbled each recipient was opened my eyes to the importance of sharing the stories of farmers. Besides traveling to farms, I was able to travel to different conferences, meetings, trade shows, and fairs. I am pleased to say I visited every part of the state this summer.

Networking. To say I met a lot of people this summer would be an understatement. From connecting with the CSIF Team and Iowa Farm Bureau Federation staff members to holding several conversations with the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig, I met a lot of new people. At every event I attended I met a new person, left with a business card or two, and gained new insight into animal agriculture. Each conversation I held was different and challenged my communication skills. Getting the chance to talk with both producers and consumers has allowed me to enhance my communication skills.

Advocating. Growing up on a family farm I knew the importance of agriculture and how hard our farmers’ work. After this summer I have a new fond appreciation for agriculture. I saw firsthand the dedication and care that goes into each operation. Working for CSIF allowed me to advocate and share stories about farmers that are not sometimes shared. Farmers are not always seen in the brightest light so getting the chance to shine a little light on them and what they are doing was very rewarding. I have also learned about the vital contributions of animal agriculture to rural communities.

Hands-On Learning. When I was not on the road, I was in the office where I was creating graphics, editing pictures, developing marketing campaigns, writing feature stories, tracking data, and assisting Hope with our podcast. During August, I ran the 10th annual CSIF photo contest. I enjoyed doing each of these things and learned valuable skills from each project. Also getting the chance to apply what I have learned from my communication classes has been invaluable and important for me to continue to improve my skillset. Being able to create, schedule, and then track my campaigns allowed me to see how producers and consumers like information communicated to them.

I could go on and on about my internship experience and how much I enjoyed my summer with CSIF. I hope this gave some insight into my summer and what CSIF has been doing. I would also like to express my appreciation to the CSIF team, Iowa farm families, and every person I connected with this summer for allowing me to become a better communicator and advocate for agriculture.

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