From An Outsider's View

Madison Schafer interned with the Minnesota Farm Bureau Public Relations team this past summer.

Have you ever looked at your life from an outsider’s perspective and thought, “How did I get so lucky?” This past summer with the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) as one of their Public Relations team interns caused me to do that more often than I ever thought possible. The staff, the members and the skills gained all contributed to make my summer one to remember.

Growing up on a farm in a town too small for even a stop light, I was always used to a more laid back approach to life. Driving to Eagan for the first time back in May, my eyes were instantly opened to a different way of life. As I walked into the MFBF building ready to start my first day, a rush of emotions came over me with excitement, nervousness, anticipation, and gratitude. All of those butterflies were put to rest the minute I met the staff. I wasn’t sure whether I was cut out for a desk job, but with co-workers like each of them, I know I can see it now. I believe now would be a good time to say thank you. Thank you to the staff members of this amazing organization for making me feel welcomed and truly a part of something amazing from the very first day.

The staff were not the only part of my internship that made it truly worthwhile. One of the tasks that I was assigned for the summer was to visit, interview and photograph members of the MFBF Promotion and Education Committee and the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee. Yet again, I was blown away by the hospitality that I was given with every stop I made. Listening to the stories of every member built up my excitement more and more because I could literally see their passion for Farm Bureau and for agriculture as a whole. One stop that I remember particularly well was in the Wadena County area. Being invited in for lemonade and bars followed by a full four-course meal at the next stop showed the true hearts of Farm Bureau. With worries and negativity spread about agriculture all too often, these visits were so refreshing and renewed my passion for agriculture that I am proud to be a part of each and every day.

As any good internship should, the MFBF Public Relations internship provided me with new experiences, skills and opportunities that I would have not gotten otherwise. From writing news releases to creating videos and infographics, to organizing more than 150 volunteers and even some blogging, I was given a true 360-degree view of a public relations specialist. As I move into my future endeavors both at school and in the “real world,” these things have taught me what skills I still need to work on, what I am good at, and what things I will always love doing no matter who or what it is for.

The opportunity to intern with MFBF this past summer was a wonderful experience. Though I knew what Farm Bureau was in the past, this summer brought to life the true importance and relevance that it has for farmers and consumers alike. We all want one thing, and that is to feel confident in the food we eat and the products we use every day. Farm Bureau is an organization that keeps that in mind while representing all parties to the best of its ability. From an “outsider looking in” perspective, I would say I am pretty fortunate to have been involved in Farm Bureau the way I was, and every member that is represented by Farm Bureau can say that exact same thing.