Chariton Valley Beef Youth Livestock Internship

Joe Sellers, livestock field specialist


South-central Iowa youth with livestock projects often have limited resources available to them when looking for production information or education about the livestock industries. In the past ten years, Sellers and local staff have increased the real-world opportunities for livestock members with more emphasis on local carcass contests, county ultrasound contests, and the regional advanced cattle feeder project. This has created an increased workload. In addition, college students from the region studying agriculture struggle to find challenging internships for summer employment. Over the past four years an internship program started by Sellers has addressed these issues.

The Chariton Valley Beef youth livestock internship has allowed the local extension programs to offer valuable experience to four incoming seniors from Iowa State University and Northwest Missouri State. Partnering with the McNay farm, a well rounded work experience has included work on beef and sheep projects at the farm, managing records, making farm visits to 25-30 youth involved in the regional advanced feeder program, assisting Sellers with county carcass and ultrasound contests, and working with local staff on special educational events for youth livestock members.

The internship allowed for more in-depth contacts with youth involved in production-oriented livestock projects. Sellers and the intern make many contacts in 10 counties in south-central Iowa relating to quality assurance, value-added marketing, and other production topics. Participants pay fees for carcass data collected at local meat processors and for record keeping costs for the feeder project that contribute to Sellers' revenue generation.

To this point the extension portion of the internship has been totally funded by grant dollars through Chariton Valley Beef, Iowa State University, and other sources. Starting in 2004, more of the costs will be covered by local stakeholders.

The projects aided by this internship have flourished over the past four years. Numbers in the regional advanced feeder and youth carcass shows have grown. Emphasizing business skills with monthly feed record submissions has greatly improved the feeder program and would not be possible without the intern's work.

College students from Marion, Lucas and Wayne Counties found valuable work experience near their homes. Interns trained in this program to date have all entered into the livestock industry or education careers. Three of the four interns received college credit for their efforts in this program. At this point the goals and mechanics of this internship have not fit very well into the Life in Iowa guidelines, but that avenue will continue to be examined in the future.

Page last updated: July 8, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz,