Certified Angus Beef Internship- Meg Drake

This past summer I served as the Industry Information Intern with Certified Angus Beef.  The internship was based out of Manhattan, Kan.

Certified Angus Beef, or CAB, is a not-for-profit organization that is considered a subsidiary of the American Angus Association.  CAB’s operational strategies and various business ventures are multi-faceted.

The company’s main purpose is to promote Angus beef and in turn generate more revenue for its producers.  They approach this operational goal from many different angles and work with different links in the production chain to accomplish their mission.  Not only does CAB license feedlots and restaurants but their marketing department also provides materials to those who wish to advertise the fact that they sell or produce CAB branded meat.

The Industry Information Division works mostly with producers and feedlots.  Their goals are to provide literature and information highlighting or featuring feedlots and producers that have done exceptionally well in terms of producing a high quality and consistent Certified Angus Beef product.

Some of my duties as the Industry Information Intern included meeting with and writing articles featuring producers, industry leaders, and even restaurant chefs.   On a day-to-day basis I was also assigned videos and transcriptions that had to be condensed down to 3-minute excerpts to be featured as “Angus VNRs” or video news releases that were later featured during “The Angus Report.”  I was also allowed the opportunity to record and serve as the voiceover for some of these VNRs.  Other duties included, but were not limited to, constructing news releases for various events, transcribing interviews, writing blog entries, and updating social media sites.

Throughout the duration of my time spent with CAB I not only learned many things about myself as a writer but I gained a better understanding of the value-added beef industry and learned what it was like to be a full-time employee.

Under my supervisor, and Director of the Industry Information Division, Steve Suther, I feel that I was able to advance my writing skills.  As an ex-Kansas State instructor and someone who has worked in the industry as a journalist for many years, Mr. Suther’s edits provided me with insights into style and how to make my writing more effective when trying to reach a specific audience.  I greatly valued his inputs and have kept all of my articles on file for future reference.

Other things I learned while interning with CAB were how to properly write for video broadcast and how to effectively communicate with producers for the purpose of conducting an efficient interview.  It is important when constructing a video script to first captivate audience members then provide information between excerpts as succinctly as possible.  It is also important that excerpts flow and when put together make sense.  In regard to interviewing producers, I learned that it is crucial to prepare ahead of time.  Familiarizing yourself with a producers operation helps when devising effective questions, it also shows he or she that you care about their business.  In many cases they are more open to sharing information with you and are more comfortable around you as an interviewer if you have done your research first.  Credibility is essential as a writer.

Upon completion of my internship experience I was able to discern between what I excelled in and what I didn’t care for as much.  I feel as though I learned a lot about who I am as a person and what kind of career path I’ll be pursuing in the future.

Areas that I enjoyed in particular were the broadcasting and social media components of the internship.  When searching for a job in the future, these two areas are ones that I can list as being comfortable with and proficient in.  I also enjoyed traveling and visiting with cattle producers.  Getting to interact with people that are passionate about the industry is another component I will look for when deciding upon a career.

Certified Angus Beef Internship- Wyatt Bechtel

For my internship I worked with Certified Angus Beef with their Industry Information Division as a writing intern. CAB is a branded beef program that helps promote beef produced by Angus cattle. The brand is owned by approximately 30,000 American Angus Association members and was established in 1978 by several Ohio cattlemen. The organization has maintained its roots in Ohio by having the headquarters in Wooster.

With the Industry Information Division the purpose is to inform producers about management techniques or new research that will aid them in meeting the parameters of CAB’s program. My supervisor was the director of the division, Steve Suther, who is based out of Onaga, Kansas. Much of my correspondence with Steven for stories or other assignments was via email. Miranda Reiman was another member of the Industry Information team who sent me work, and on certain occasions Laura Nelson would have assignments for me too. Miranda is based out of her home in Cozard, Nebraska, and Laura works in the main office in Wooster. During my internship I worked at the Supply Development Office in Manhattan.

I worked from May 16 to July 28, and I have also done some work with CAB during the school year on a freelance basis. Each week I worked approximately 40 hours during the summer and had some overtime here and there. My approximate amount of hours worked would be 450 hours. I had hoped to work some more freelance jobs for CAB during the school year, but the company had several other interns during this time so there was not enough writing to divide between us.

I wrote news releases and feature stories covering research studies, events, and producer profiles. Recording video and audio for stories was another duty I had. During the summer I would take pictures of black hided cattle that looked to have an Angus background when I drove home to Eureka. I would also take pictures of cattle on my ranch on weekends. This was a way for me to help CAB increase their photos of stocker cattle as they had a limited number on hand before my internship. It also allowed me to build up some more hours and hone my photography skills. I even assisted in editing copy on the CAB Partners website, which served as a precursor to much of the website design and editing I would do in the upcoming months.

Learning was a large part of my experience at CAB. While working with the brand, I improved my interviewing skills from trial and error. On a near daily basis I had to engage in phone call interviews with cow-calf producers, feedlot managers, university researchers, and people involved with beef marketing. Doing these calls over the phone was at first difficult for me as I had not done this much prior to working at CAB. However, most of my interactions with the people I interviewed went really well because I tried to make this conversational. I also conducted some interviews in person and via email. Time management was a large part of the internship as I had many different tasks I had to perform and deadlines to meet. It helped that I was required to keep time sheets detailing what I had done which had to be turned in weekly. I took better pictures as I gained more experience with the camera I was assigned. My images went from standard shots of black hided cattle to those with improved lighting and composition.

This was a great internship for me as it joined many forms of media together. My goal is to be involved in agricultural communications with the beef industry and working with CAB is a major boost for my resume. Because I want to work in the beef industry this was a great way to learn about industry from start to finish. I am currently applying for positions and many are requiring writing samples, so having this internship helped me add to my portfolio while also getting published. I really enjoyed my time with CAB and maybe in the future I can work again with their wonderful organization.