Interning at WP interesting and unusual

These past 12 weeks have gone by in a blur of story assignments about subjects foreign to me. As I enter this last week of my internship, I wonder where the time went. 

While my experience at The Western Producer has definitely been a challenge, it does not mean I didn’t enjoy every second of it. As I suspected, it took me some time to adjust to the topic of agriculture, considering my limited knowledge in the area. 

Agriculture comes with an entirely different vocabulary. A couple of assignments topped my list while I was learning the lingo. 

One of my more memorable assignments involved going to the Prairie Swine Centre just outside Saskatoon. I had never visited a shower in-shower out facility before, and not being able to take a camera with me into the centre was another challenge. 

The highlight of that assignment was being able to see the pigs at various ages, ranging from pregnant sows to day-old piglets. 

I especially enjoyed being able to climb into one of the group housing stalls. Getting right at eye level with the sows makes for a entirely different experience. 

As I mentioned in my first column, my grandfather used to raise pigs on his farm. I don’t remember them being quite so curious and friendly. 

Another fantastic experience was spending a morning with Herschel Hill owner Sharon McDaniel and learning how much work goes into making artisan cheese. 

Separating curds from whey, hanging bags of curds to further drain excess liquid, pasteurizing milk and adding the right amount of culture and rennet are all part of making a delicious cheese, not to mention the aging process. 

The field assignments weren’t the only excellent things about this internship. 

The staff, my co-workers at The Western Producer, were friendly and willing to help whenever I had a problem. Whether it was setting up the password to my voice mail or recommending sources for a story, they wouldn’t let me flounder. 

It will be tough to say good-bye to everyone I’ve met and worked with for the past three months. 

Despite all I have learned, I have just gotten my feet wet in the world of agriculture.


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