2017 NAFB Foundation Intern

One of this year’s NAFB interns is Rhiannon Branch from Iuka, IL, in Marion County. Her mentor is Rita Frazer (RFD Radio Network, Bloomington, IL) Rhiannon is a recent graduate of Kaskaskia College and will be transferring to Murray State University (MSU) this fall to pursue an agri-science technology degree with a communications emphasis. She joined 4-H early at the age of 8, and it is there she began journalism, communications and public speaking projects. Later, she started showing cattle, became part of a nationally honored livestock judging team and dairy judging team, and she earned her own blue corduroy FFA jacket. “These organizations allowed me to combine my interests in agriculture and communications, which ultimately shaped my decision to devote my future to advocating for agriculture,” she said. “Through my participation in 4-H and FFA, I had been interviewed for the RFD Radio Network by Rita Frazer and had written two guest articles for FarmWeek. After watching my friend and former RFD Intern Courtney Gerstenecker enjoy her summer alongside Rita in 2014, I placed this position in the back of my mind as an incredible opportunity to develop my skills.” She has just completed week two plus as the Illinois Farm Bureau News and Communications Intern.

RFD 2017 Intern
Rhiannon Branch, NAFB Foundation Grant intern, left,
with her mentor, Rita Frazer.

“So far, I am in heaven! Each day I leave knowing more than I did walking in that morning,” Rhiannon exclaimed. “I am looking forward to traveling the state to visit county fairs, networking with farmers and interviewees, and above all consuming as much knowledge as I can in one summer to become the best advocate that I can be.” The News and Communications Division provides learning pathways in broadcasting, journalism and social media advocacy which are all critical skills she feels she will need for a successful job resume following her graduation from MSU. “I was lucky to have found my calling at a young age, and I thank the staff at Illinois Farm Bureau for allowing me to exercise my talents and prove that I am exactly where I was meant to be,” she concluded. Rita Frazer said, “The RFD Radio Network is very thankful to have received one the 2017 NAFB Foundation DuPont Pioneer Internship Grants. This is our fifth year to receive the special grant, and we have been delighted with the quality of students we have hosted during those summer seasons.” She emphasized, “Liz Koehler, Courtney Gerstenecker and Kelsey Litchfield were all RFD Radio Network interns, and all went on to do great things within NAFB and the agriculture industry. Liz Koehler (2014) and Kelsey Litchfield (2015) both received the CME Group and NAFB Foundation Scholarship. Courtney Gerstenecker was an outstanding student and remains a student member of NAFB. We are so excited to welcome Rhiannon and are looking forward to a wonderful summer in Illinois,” Rita concluded.