AGademics: How Wayne-Sanderson Farms Summer Interns Learn about Agriculture both Inside and Outside the Classroom

In high school, Oscar Martinez became interested in agriculture after getting involved with his local Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter, which helped him research the many facets of agriculture and determine his specific passion, the poultry industry. Now a poultry science major at Mississippi State University, the passion Martinez discovered for agriculture in high school has not dwindled as he plans to pursue a full-time career in the industry.

Similar to how he first discovered his passion for agriculture in high school, it was during a college class that Martinez learned of the opportunity to learn more about the poultry industry in Wayne-Sanderson Farms’ summer internship program. “Towards the end of the semester, company recruiters from came to Mississippi State University and spoke to the class about the opportunities the company had to offer students,” said Martinez. “At that time, I already had an internship aligned for the summer, but something felt right about applying for this one.”

Martinez was later accepted into Wayne-Sanderson Farms’ summer internship program, where he would spend the summer learning from employees and management at the company’s Collins, Mississippi processing facility. “Being able to work with supervisors directly and learn about processes and the company’s management style has been my favorite aspect of the internship,” said Martinez. “I feel like I am always learning something new from the people I work with, whether it is about producing chicken products, how to manage people or how to develop myself professionally. This experience has really helped me understand what a future with this company would look like.”

Wayne-Sanderson Farms’ summer internship program is a paid, 10-week internship program that allows students to gain real-world experience, develop professionally, learn about the poultry industry and earn opportunities for full-time employment with the company. As an intern, students have the opportunity to work in four key areas of the company’s business, which are live production, processing, prepared foods and corporate administration.

“I would definitely recommend the internship program to other students,” said Martinez. “It is not only a great way to gain experience, but also a place that makes you feel at home. It is great to see the effort the company puts into ensuring they produce safe and high-quality products that help feed so many people.”

Since gaining experience on the processing side of the industry in the internship program, Martinez has determined that his passion is for preparing products that help feed customers all around the world. The poultry industry is full of opportunity for people from a variety of skills and backgrounds, and now Martinez is confident he has found his niche within the industry.

“I thought I knew the scope of opportunities the poultry industry has to offer, but being here really put into perspective that no matter the background, there is a place for you in the industry and also at this company,” said Martinez. “If given the opportunity, I would definitely be interested in working full-time for Wayne-Sanderson Farms.”

Much to his surprise, it did not take long for opportunity to come knocking on Martinez’s door. After his successful performance in the company’s summer internship program, he was offered a full-time position as a supervisor at the Collins, Mississippi processing facility where he served as an intern.

“Since my first day, I have felt very welcomed and really enjoyed being around the people that work at Wayne-Sanderson Farms,” said Martinez. “I have also been able to observe management and how they want their employees to succeed. Overall, it is a great working environment that continually pushes you to be better.”