The Best of Both Worlds
I didn’t have the typical internship by any means. In fact the job just kind of fell in my hands when I got the phone call from the Wilsons, however, as the saying goes sometimes the best things in life are unexpected. I spent the summer working for Wilson/Kedley Cattle Company. By far the most beautiful cattle facilities I’d ever seen, a show barn kid like myself would have killed to grow up around an incredible set of cows. It sound like a lot of cattle work doesn’t it? That’s what I thought too, but that isn’t what the owners had in mind. To my surprise I quickly found I would get the opportunity to work with individuals in every aspect of the cattle industry.
Charlie Wilson, Owner, was the one who approached me with the idea. He was aware that I had recently switched majors and transferred to Kansas State. This was exciting for him as he felt my ability to write could be a huge asset for marketing the company and primarily the cattle. I was there to help picture all the cattle and pick the pictures we’d use. I decided which magazines we would advertise with and handled contacting people about designing the ad layouts. With my previous experience with the Black Hawk Livestock judging team, I was the perfect one to write about cattle descriptions and even take phone calls to describe cattle to potential buyers. While this doesn’t sound much more complicated then what your average cattle company sales team would do I got to manage a lot of other things too.
As a way of thanking customers both past and present I got to work on redesigning the company logo and then work with Purina on getting the cost of the hats sponsored. By agreeing to put there logo on the back we worked out a deal where they would pay for a certain percentage of whatever we ordered. While working with Purina on the hat deal I also got them to agree to host a fitting and feeding clinic that we would host at the Wilson facilities. They sent a representative out who discussed feeding techniques and what each product was meant to do while Charlie Wilson went over and displayed how to properly wash, clip, and fit a show animal. The turnout was tremendous. I invited 50 local people through Charlie’s Facebook page I was running, and just over 40 showed up. Once rumor got around about how educational and beneficial the evening was, the local county fair approached me about organizing the event again at the county fair.
This would prove to be a bit more of a challenge. Purina and Charlie agreed to the idea immediately agreed to idea but I would have to battle the hardships of the county fair board and how there sponsorships worked. If Charlie and the rest of Wilson/Kedley wanted to use this as a marketing strategy there were certain rules that had to followed so that Purina could also be there and the fair board could still advertise it. This taught me a lot about the inside relationships between a company and how money works when dealing with multiple companies on the same sponsorship, especially when considering insurance policies.
During my time in senior college I have focused on numerous animal science classes as well. Working at Wilson/Kedley gave me a chance to use not only what I’d learned from a communications major standpoint but also from animal science. In fact the first night I was here I was so excited I got to watch a C-section performed on a mature cow. In time I would get to give vaccines and keep records that would be given to buyers after their purchase. I also came up with rations and feeding plans with our local Purina dealer.
Although these are only a few of my experiences, I feel my time at Wilson/Kedley was extremely beneficial. Not only did I get to run their social media outlets and promote some of the best cattle you can find but I also learned about business relations and how giving back to people is ultimately the best way to promote a company. I loved my hands on time with the cattle and the chance to apply what I had learned growing up and in animal science. The people amount of people I have met had a huge impact on how I look at the industry and how I will communicate in future employment situations. I’m proud to still be working with Wilson/Kedley on all their social media and marketing needs. I would strongly encourage anyone to take an internship such as this one. It did not apply strictly to just communications but I think that’s what makes it so special, now I can convey what I know about other aspects of the agricultural industry with confidence because I’ve dealt with it firsthand not only on a personal level at home but with a different operation.