By: Caroline Miller, Meat Science | Lindsey, OH
I remember thinking, “So, I’m going to work in a beef plant. Who actually wants to work in a cold, boring production line?” Well as it turns out, I am one of those people that is more than excited to wake up at 3:45AM to wear steel toed boots, a hard hat and a hairnet to work every day. This past summer, I completed my first internship with Cargill Beef in Fresno, California, where we processed about 1400 head of cattle per day.
As the operations fabrication intern, I was very fortunate to learn about plant processes through two projects during my twelve weeks out west. For my first project, I graded carcasses and collected data for a newly implemented boxed beef program. I spent most of my time working with the production floor supervisors to develop a tool that helped them identify issues on the floor and assisted in creating a plan of action to resolve those issues. Through this project, we were able to improve product yields for Flapmeat and Ribeyes, as well as develop some remarkable friendships. I had a great experience and it is mainly because of the people I got to work with and learn from. At the end of my internship, I was able to compete with the other Operations Interns from each Cargill Protein Facility. After a lot of hard and backing from my coworkers, I was able to bring first place back to Fresno.
While I was preparing for my internship, I felt very excited and nervous to have so many new experiences in California. However, I didn’t realize how much this summer would change my life. Living 2400 miles away from anyone and anything I ever knew helped me gain independence, strength and confidence in myself. Looking back on this summer, I am so unbelievably grateful for the opportunities I had to travel, overcome struggles, and, most importantly, work with some truly amazing people. Internships are opportunities to try your career on for size and because of my experience, I am fully certain that the meat industry is right where I need to be.