The Minnesota Pork Board and Minnesota Pork Producers Association are excited to continue their summer internship program. Baleigh Peterson and Megan Meyer will spend time developing communication and public relation skills as well as industry knowledge through first hand experiences. Learn more about their background and interests below.
Baleigh is an upcoming junior at the University of Minnesota majoring in Agricultural Communication and Marketing with a minor in Animal Science.
Tell us about your farming / agricultural background. I grew up on a small hobby farm outside of Gibbon, Minnesota where my family has a small herd of simmental beef cattle and raises show pigs and poultry every year for our local county fair. Previously, my family lived by Lafayette, but was able to move to my dad’s family farm (where we are now) where they used to raise crops and milk their herd of holsteins. I have been involved in showing cattle and participating in 4-H and FFA since I was old enough. My parents got my siblings involved in the industry knowing it would help us gain an understanding of where our food comes from and it would teach us responsibility. Since starting, my love for the agriculture industry has only grown!
What are your future career goals? For as long as I can remember, I have been set on continuing my education in agriculture and one day, finding a career in the industry. Upon graduation, I plan to move back to my home area and find a career in the communication side of the agriculture industry. Ultimately, I would like to connect consumers to where their food comes from through communication and education and/or be a supporter and communicator for Minnesota’s farmers.
What sparked your interest in agriculture and Minnesota Pork? As I have said, my interest in agriculture sparked from a young age and I have only grown more passionate about it since, but my desire to share my passion for the ag industry was solidified when my cousin came to stay on our farm for a week quite a few years ago. Although he had relatives who were connected to the ag industry, I was surprised at how little he knew about agriculture and where his food actually comes from. This made me realize that as agriculturalists, it is our job to communicate with consumers and help them find gratitude for those who grow their food. Since my cousin’s visit, I have taken on larger roles in 4-H and the Minnesota Simmental Association, gained a better understanding of communicating for farmers, and even served as a 2021-2022 Minnesota FFA State Officer. I am excited to work for Minnesota Pork this summer and look forward to advocating for the pork industry at many events and building on my professional and interpersonal skills.
What are you most looking forward to as an intern at Minnesota Pork? I have had some experience working with pigs through showing and helping on a couple hog farms, but I am excited to expand my knowledge on hog operations and see how practices of Minnesota hog farmers differ from what I have experienced. I am also very excited to build on my design, content creation, and writing skills and, as a people person, am excited to meet and work with members of the Minnesota Pork team. Additionally, I look forward to our Oink Outings and advocating for the pork industry across the state!
Tell us a fun fact about yourself. I have the same name and same birthday as the newly hired Director of Communications, Bailey Ruen. We also both have a younger sister named Brielle!
Megan is an upcoming junior at the University of Minnesota majoring in Agricultural Communication and Marketing with a minor in Animal Science.
Tell us about your farming / agricultural background. I am the fourth generation on my family’s 900 cow dairy farm in Winona County. We raise most of our own crops and milk cows at two different locations. Growing up, I was involved in 4-H and showed dairy cattle and meat goats. I was also very involved on my county’s dairy judging team and hope to continue to judge for the University of Minnesota. In 2021, I was a top ten finalist for Princess Kay of the Milky Way, where I gained a passion for communicating agriculture to the public. All of these experiences shaped my love for agriculture, livestock, and working with people.
What are your future career goals? In the future, I hope to continue to work in agriculture. I want to try a few different avenues, like working in ag policy, communications, working hands-on with livestock and working in public relations. Eventually I would love to own a farm of my own and raise livestock, specifically dairy cattle! I want to keep the public informed about the day to day on a farm by starting a blog and a social media page where people can follow along and learn all about my farming story.
What sparked your interest in agriculture and Minnesota Pork? I have always been passionate about agriculture, because I understand the value that agriculture has in the world. I learned this by growing up on a farm. I worked very hard to promote dairy throughout the years, and after my freshman year in college, I developed an interest in the swine industry. I wanted to diversify my knowledge of the agriculture industry as a whole, and I thought that working with Minnesota Pork would be a great way to do that. I am also interested in agricultural policy work, and through this internship I can dive deeper into policy work.
What are you most looking forward to as an intern at Minnesota Pork? I cannot wait to attend Oink Outings this summer. I love interactions with the public, and am so excited to help bridge the gap between farmers and consumers. I am also looking forward to using my event planning skills to help put on some great agriculture related events this summer!
Tell us a fun fact about yourself. I got my head carved out of 90 pounds of butter as a Princess Kay Finalist!
Baleigh Peterson (left) and Megan Meyer (right) at the Minnesota Pork office in Mankato, MN.