College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

IAA Internship Stories: Matt Antonio

Luke Santerre

Antonio, a Showman in the Ring

Frequently spotted in the show ring with beef cattle this summer, Institute of Applied Agriculture student Matt Antonio interned at Cherry Knoll Farm in West Grove, Pennsylvania. Antonio, an Agricultural Business Management major, was raised on a 50-acre beef cattle farm which prepared him well for his internship.

He fed and washed the show cattle daily, and he castrated bulls. Even though Antonio has grown up around cattle his entire life, he entered his internship with an open mind hoping to gain even more knowledge, which he did when he helped cure a blind calf. “That experience really opened my eyes on the impact humans can have on such powerful animals even at a young age,” says Antonio.

He also learned how to trim the cattle’s hooves and he was constantly reminded to stay on his toes around bulls. Unexpectedly one day, a bull turned on Antonio and pinned him against an electric fence. He came away with just a few bruises, but he definitely realized that he always had to be on top of his game around the cattle.

The cattle on Antonio’s family farm are primarily used for show purposes, but some are grass fed beef used for slaughter. His family follows a strict pasture rotation pattern so the cattle will not eat all the grass in one field. Antonio appreciated that his internship provided the opportunity to travel the country to different cattle farms, which was one of his favorite parts of the summer. He saw how different farmers ran their operations. He traveled to West Virginia, Maryland, Iowa, and Oklahoma. Antonio says he enjoyed traveling across the country in a tractor-trailer and that after every show they would clean out the trailer, adding fresh pine shavings so the cattle would have fresh bedding.

Antonio is a prized showman in his own right. When it comes to showing beef cattle, he has won over 30 shows in the past 11 years. When he reflects on his own experiences, his internship, and IAA course work, Antonio is excited about his future in this field of work. One thing Antonio said he discovered this summer is that “You must work very hard in the field to stand out and be successful.” With self-motivation like this, Antonio has a very bright future in beef cattle farming.

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