IAA Internship Stories: James Thomas
For as long as he can remember, James Thomas has wanted to be a farmer. This summer, he got to fulfill a part of that dream by working as an intern at My Lady’s Manor Farm in Monkton, Maryland. My Lady’s Manor Farm is a fifth-generation family farm that raises world-class Holstein dairy cows that are sold worldwide. The farm also raises corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay.
Thomas, an Agricultural Business Management major at the Institute of Applied Agriculture, started working at the farm in June 2016. His days started at 8 a.m. with the morning feeding. Once all the cows were fed, Thomas’s chores varied from day to day. During his internship he harvested hay, chopped silage, bailed straw, fixed fences, attended to the cattle, and did everything and anything he was asked to do to keep the farm in good working order. Thomas enjoyed everything he did on the farm, especially spending time in the field harvesting hay and working with the cattle.
Thomas is very interested in embryo transfer, which is a modern farming technique where farmers collect embryos by giving cows medication to make them super ovulate. This means that the cows let down more than one egg. My Lady’s Manor Farm was a pioneer in embryo transfer for cows. After the eggs are fertilized and become embryos, they are flushed out of the cow and are immediately inserted into carrier cows or frozen for later use. Thomas was excited to assist the veterinarian while surgery was performed on a cow that had a displaced abomasum (in cows, the fourth stomach compartment).
Thomas’s enthusiasm for his work was apparent to everyone at My Lady’s Manor Farm. “His work ethic was outstanding” said his supervisor Mary Smith, who is the co-owner of the dairy farm. Thomas’s academic advisor Larisa Cioaca stated: “I echo Ms. Smith’s evaluation of James. He is a highly competent and committed young man who will achieve great career success in agriculture."
Thomas states, “They say you never work a day in your life if you do what you love. This was absolutely true this summer while working on My Lady’s Manor Farm. It didn't feel like work because I loved every second I spent on the farm.”
Thomas totaled more than 320 hours over the summer for his internship, and during this time he learned a lot. He is now more certain than ever that he wants to complete his education at the University of Maryland, earn a degree in Agriculture Science and Technology, and have his own farm one day.