January 12, 2024

Hello everyone!

My name is Isaac Johnson and for the next five weeks, I will be working as an intern here at the Grain Place in Marquette, Nebraska. This first week has been jam-packed with new information and learning about the farm and the grain processing operations. Given that it is currently January, the working week looks a little bit different than other times of the year. However, there is always work to be done on the farm. 

So far, I have learned how to care for the cows and pigs here at the farm. I have also learned how to drive a tractor and work with electric fencing. Along with this work, I was able to take a tour of the processing facility and sit in on several meetings that have offered me the opportunity to make networking connections and understand the operations and mission of Grain Place Foods. 

Along with the daily tasks and opportunities here at the farm, this internship has also allowed me to pursue academic work. Firstly, I am enrolled in an online course that I have the freedom and support to take and then relate to my experiences at the farm. I have also been starting to write technical scientific reports about things on the farm in response to conversations with some of the staff here. I am extremely interested in agroforestry and perennial crop integration, and this opportunity has given me the freedom to try to help them implement that here. This week, I am beginning to research some of the trees in place here and prepare suggestions on possible future plans for tree management and planting.

While it is snowy and cold outside, I have been keeping warm in the wonderful new intern house. The house is lovely and everyone here has made sure I am comfortable and have everything I could possibly need. Over the coming weeks, I hope to continue gaining knowledge about the farm and making connections with the people involved!

Our Pilot Internship Program is supported through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP). TOPP is a program of the USDA Organic Transition Initiative and is administered by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP)