"Life from an Exhaust Fan"
Updated: Sep 24
a student's reflection on his internship experience
Keegan Padgett, our 2021 LEAP intern, titled his end-of-summer internship presentation with this phrase, giving his audience a chuckle as he summarized his internship experience from within the swine barn. He is currently a junior at Oklahoma State University majoring in Animal Science with a Production option.
We asked him several questions about his time as a pig production intern, and his responses are below.
Q. What were some of your key takeaways from the internship?
A. Some of my key takeaways from the internship was learning how to communicate in a diverse setting and being careful and efficient at the same time. Confinement swine operations have to have communication to operate effectively and there were times where there was a language barrier from English to Spanish, therefore hand signals became a large part of our communication. We also learned some of each other's languages just by using hand signals and talking through things. Working with animals you have to be careful, but at the same time there are a lot of tasks to accomplish in one day so you have to be efficient. Learning how to work carefully, but efficiently was another key takeaway.
Q. What did you like best about your internship?
A. I liked the community environment that the employees brought to the table. It is very easy to just see an intern and make them do all the work the employee
doesn't want to, but I was never asked to do something that they hadn't done before. I also never felt like I was an outsider because they were very inviting and included me in conversations and decision making.
Q. What did you like least about your internship?
A. My least favorite part of the internship was hard to find when I got to thinking about it. There wasn't anything I didn't enjoy except how clean the barns had to be kept. I am not the kind that likes cleaning and organizing but I understand why it needs to be done so I didn't have a problem with it.
Q. What would you tell others about working with pigs?
A. I would tell people when working with pigs you have to keep your head cool. Many times bred or in-heat sows don't want to cooperate with you and you have to get them to do what you need. Animals can sense the energy that you are giving off and if you can stay calm, cool, and collected it will make life easier for you and them.
Q. What are your current hopes or goals after graduation?
A. My current goals after completing my undergrad are to either work for the swine operation I am working at currently, or going and getting my masters to help improve the swine operation I am currently working at. Either way I came into my current job pretty close to the beginning so watching it grow and being apart of it for the last two years makes it hard not to want to work there and see the potential come to life.
If you're a college student pursuing a career in the animal or swine industry, consider applying for our pig production internship at https://www.belstramilling.com/careers