MAHS Internship Spotlight

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Wagner.ClaytonAClayton Wagner has been spending his afternoons at the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, PA as part of the MAHS Senior Internship Program. Clayton talks about the farm as if he has worked there for years. His knowledge of the inner workings of the farm is impressive. From taking care of animals to maintaining equipment and fences, the exposure he has received to all aspects of farming is invaluable. 

“If I didn’t have this internship program I would be missing out. I’d probably be sitting in an elective class, that didn’t pertain to my career, just to fill my schedule. I’d still be having fun learning something new, but the value that my internship has is priceless. I’d also probably have an evening job that wasn’t training me for what I really want to do. This is something that is really going to help me in my future.” 

In addition to his cowboy hat, Clayton wears many others. To maintain the electric fences on the 1400 acre farm he has to be an electrician. If equipment breaks, he becomes a mechanic. He is learning vet skills by giving shots to animals and learning about nutrition because of the variety of feeds that are mixed for different needs of the animals. “The experience is different every day and I learn something new each day. Being a farmer isn’t just being a farmer.”

wagner.waterClayton’s internship has also redirected his focus. His plan was to pursue the agricultural side of farming but his experience at the farm has changed his course. He now plans to major in Agribusiness. Clayton loves the intrigue of how and why things work. He enjoys the challenge of problem solving to make things work efficiently, or creating solutions for common farm issues like frozen water.

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Frank Stoltzfus and Clayton Wagner

“His job is basically what I want to do,” said Clayton as his “boss” approached. Frank Stoltzfus has run the farm for 34 years and has had a student worker on the farm every year since 1999. One of his past interns is now the Animal Nutritionist he hires to keep his cattle healthy and strong. “The main advantage of this exper
ience for students is the real-life experience they get. You can learn a lot from books but you learn a lot more sitting on a piece of equipment and working the cattle.
Clayton was even able to attend the dispersal sale where we sell our cattle for beef. He got to see the economic impact of how all the work we do all year long pays off.”

And it certainly pays off. The beef raised at the Masonic Village is such high quality that it is sold to 40 high-end restaurants in New York City. But it is also available for purchase at the Masonic Village Farm Market at 310 End View Road, Elizabethtown. Head over to the farm market and grab some beef raised by our very own Clayton Wagner!

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