Twenty-three students from 16 colleges participated last week in Guymon, Oklahoma-based Seaboard Foods’ annual Winternship program.
The week-long Winternship provides an opportunity for students to explore the operations of a connected pork production company, network with experts, better define career paths and gain knowledge about how pork is produced.
“Studies have shown there are misconceptions and a low awareness regarding career paths in agriculture for college students. Seaboard Foods’ Winternship showcases the diverse opportunities available within the pork industry by offering a week packed full of activities within our integrated system,” said Jennie Watkins, director of human resources.
Maycee Price, a senior at Tarleton State University, plans to earn her master’s degree in agriculture and consumer science with an emphasis in leadership after graduation. With a background showing pigs, she chose to attend Winternship because she wanted more information about Seaboard Foods and how it operates.
“I’m passionate about agriculture and excited to tell everyone what I have learned at Seaboard Foods. The whole process has been surprising to me. It’s crazy how many pigs and sows that are cared for here, and there are so many details involved in the farm to fork process,” Price said.
Seaboard Foods’ Winternship started in 2010. Since then, 258 students have completed this educational opportunity. Students augment their formal education with a real-world view of the industry through tours and presentations, connection with professionals and better define their career goals through a look at career paths.
Many times, program opportunities result in a longer-term commitment with students. In 2022, Seaboard Foods offered nearly two-thirds of the Winternship students paid summer internships or trainee positions.
“We want the Winternship to provide a realistic look at how pork is produced and the job opportunities our sector of agriculture has to offer,” said Grae Griffin, VP of human resources.
“As an industry, we have a responsibility to ignite students’ passions about the pork industry and demonstrate that we are innovative and provide opportunities for fulfilling careers.”
With young people having less exposure to agriculture, farming and rural life, opportunities like the Seaboard Foods’ Winternship are more important than ever. They learn about Seaboard Foods’ integrated business, and about the many different business sectors the company touches.
Students gain knowledge about the company’s departments from operations of farms, feed mills and a pork processing plant, to transportation, environmental resource management, food safety, supply chain, finance, human resources, marketing and sales.
“Our Winternship experience is a great way to show students how pork is produced from beginning to end. The information they take away is key to building future industry leaders and advocates,” said Rick Sappington, plant VP and general manager.
Seaboard Foods employs more than 5,600 employees that produce pork in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Iowa, California and Texas. For more information, visit SeaboardFoods.com.