This summer I was an intern as a soil conservationist trainee in Shelbyville, Illinois for the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) field office. During the internship, I received hands-on training with soil conservation. I worked with farmers to ensure that the soil in their fields and pastures remained wholesome by planting specific grasses or other crops to reduce soil erosion. I also worked with the farmers on appropriate ways to implement the best practices for field borders and planting of CRP (Conservation Reserve Program). CRP is a voluntary land conservation program that pays farmers to retire environmentally sensitive cropland.
The NRCS staff I worked with at the Shelbyville office were very friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful when I had questions. During the internship, I met a ton of people who worked in the agency and made some friends along the way! What I enjoyed most about this summer internship was the hands-on work I did while working in the office and outside of the office. I was exposed to several practices that farmers and landowners implement on their properties. This was a great learning opportunity.
This internship experience helped shape my future. I gained better communication skills every day on the job between the farmers, or with my coworkers in the office. Being in a professional atmosphere this summer has given me an idea of what to expect in my future career. The skills I learn in the classroom at the University of Illinois enabled me to be prepared for my internship with the NRCS. The Agriculture Leadership program has helped shape me as a person as well as an educator.