My name is Hayes Hutter and I am a summer intern for Rock
Hills Ranch. I am from southwest Missouri, around the Springfield area. I am
currently between my freshman and sophomore year at Northeast Oklahoma A&M
College in Miami, Oklahoma, majoring in Animal Science.
My family includes 2 sets of twins—I have a twin brother,
along with a younger brother and sister, who are also twins. Both of my parents
are in the education field. My dad teaches Agriculture Education at Missouri
State University and my mom is a high school English teacher.
Our family ranch is primarily a commercial cow/calf and
stocker operation. The land has been in the family for four generations and I
hope to take it over one day. The Rock Hills Ranch internship appealed to me because
of the focus on grass production, the grazing practices, and the different types
of terrains and forages they have here in Lowry, South Dakota. I hope to expand
my understanding of grazing and herd management practices so that I can take
new ideas back to our family operation.
The Permans have welcomed me with open arms since I stepped
foot on the ranch. I’m excited to be here and can’t wait for the experiences
this summer as opportunities to learn much from Luke and the rest of the
About a week ago I drove about 23 hours to get to Rock Hills Ranch from State College, Pennsylvania. Hello my name is Ben Patterson and I am a 2019 Summer/Fall Intern at Rock Hills Ranch. I just graduated in the May of 2019 from Penn State with an Animal Science major and an Agribusiness Management minor. My family, my parents and my older brother, are from York, Pennsylvania. My dad is an elementary school principal, my mom works in human resources at a Wellspan Hospital, and my brother teaches 7th grade social studies. As a family we spend most of our time together in the woods hunting.
I do not come from an agricultural background. My grandfather always had a few pigs and a cow here and there. My great uncle had a whitetail, red stag, and dairy farm in Northern PA that I spend some time at during the summers. But overall, I have gotten the majority of my experiences in agricultural over the last three years. During my summer after my freshman and sophomore year I worked at Cedar Hill Pork, a farm that has a 700 sow farrow-feeder hog barn and about 70 registered Angus cow-calf pairs. Last summer I worked at Penn State’s Haller Farm, a rotational grazing research facility that has about 70 cow-calf pairs of commercial cattle.
After those experiences, I wanted to find an opportunity to see a different part of the cattle industry. My friend from college, Matt Kelley, was the summer intern last year and told me how great his experience was here at Rock Hills Ranch, so I decided to apply. After just a week I realized that the internship is even better than I expected. Luke is a great teacher and mentor. Since the first day he has allowed me to jump right in and start experiencing and learning new things. The first week was very busy and we put in a lot of long days but I enjoyed every moment of it. The Perman’s are so gracious and kind; they have really treated me like I was part of their family. I am excited to be able to be at Rock Hills Ranch for the next few months.
As my summer comes to a close here at Rock Hill Ranch, I’m feeling very thankful for the opportunity I was presented to intern here. The knowledge I have gained has been priceless along with the great experiences. Learning new grazing practices as well as less intensive management has been invaluable and something I can bring back to my home operation. Most importantly I have learned to make the most of my opportunities and be thankful for my experiences. Spending time with the Perman family has been more than I could have ever asked for. They have been so good to me over this summer in teaching me and guiding me through the day to day on the ranch. Paying attention to what is happening around me and not taking it for granted. I am sad to leave this beautiful landscape and I definitely plan to make it back one day to visit. So long!