Land O’Lakes internship experience

Jessica Wendt and Deanna Zernicke, both juniors in Agricultural Business Management, spent the last summer traveling the world while interning with Land O’Lakes. Now, its your turn!

An internship or an opportunity of a lifetime? Do you know of a summer internship that provides you with world travel, a trip to our country’s capital and agricultural sight visits, all while creating a proposal to feed 9 billion people by the year 2050? Jessica and Deanna found just that at Land O’Lakes. It all started with an email last fall that led to the career fair and an information session. Land O’Lakes welcomes over 200 interns every summer, but for 10-12 interns in the Global Food Challenge, their experience is very different. If you’re looking for an internship and an opportunity of a lifetime, apply for the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge.

What are the specifics of the internship? The Global Food Challenge starts in November when Land O’Lakes flies you to Minneapolis to visit their headquarters. There, you meet senior leadership and your fellow interns, and, most importantly, you are given your assigned group. After just a short orientation and some media training, you head back to the UW campus to start working on your projects. From December through April, you meet with your team online to discuss your project and have monthly check-ins with the entire group of interns. You also get an opportunity to go to Washington D.C. for a few days in April. Finally, May arrives, and after finishing finals you head to Minneapolis to work at Land O’Lakes Headquarters. You work with your team and meet with current employees of Land O’Lakes to receive direction and feedback on your project. After just a few short weeks, it’s time to travel to Africa. Yup, you get to travel to Africa with Land O’Lakes executives! It’s an all-expenses paid trip to Africa to learn and explore agriculture—with a fun safari thrown in there. Then you come back, unpack your bag, and repack your bag for a week in Washington D.C. There, you meet with senators, congressmen and political groups such as USAID and the USDA. And that’s not the only traveling you’ll be doing! You’ll round out the summer by heading to rural America for Coop week. During that week you’ll interact with agricultural professionals while enjoying the beautiful scenery and getting to know a Land O’Lakes employee. (They’re all awesome, so this is a treat.) You’ll finish the internship by presenting your project and enjoying an exceptional dinner and program at the Global Food Challenge Summit in August.

Is everyone eligible? Yes, and no. Any major and background is encouraged to apply. They welcome students that don’t have a lot or any agricultural background or knowledge. However, sophomores (expected graduation of 2020) are the only ones eligible for this internship. They also only choose interns from an exclusive list of universities: Alabama A&M, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Northwestern University, North Carolina A&T, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, The George Washington University, the University of Florida, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

How can I find out more? Stop into CALS Career Services located in 116 Ag Hall to learn more or be connected with Jess or Deanna. You can also call or email Bandi DeVries at

Any advice from the past interns? Apply, apply, and, oh yeah, apply. This internship sounds too good to be true, and it feels like you couldn’t be the one that gets picked. We all felt that way, so just apply! Second piece of advice: don’t be afraid of the video part of the application process. It sounds daunting, but it really isn’t bad, and it’s an opportunity to express yourself and prove to them that you deserve this internship. It’s better than having your resume thrown in a pile with no ability to express yourself. Finally, enjoy the entire process and take something away from it, even if you don’t get selected.

See the website for more information: