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Mathematics + Agriculture

Terri WoodlingGrowing up on a small farm in Snyder County, Terri Woodling was no stranger to agriculture, but she never associated it with math and statistics. After two internships with the National Agricultural Statistics Service, she has a new appreciation for the calculations behind farming.

“I was a summer intern and also worked there during winter break,” said Woodling. “After talking with the Statistics Service representative at the Agriculture Career Fair, I was hired back for the 2010 summer intern position.”

“I helped analyze and complete the Farm Census by examining every form from every farm operation in Pennsylvania,” she said. “During my second internship, I was the main contact for the monthly Agricultural Yield survey, and I also did a weekly crop progress report that took the weather and crop conditions from each county in Pennsylvania and compiled a news release.”

Allowed to work directly with the office statisticians, support staff, and enumerators who work in the field with farmers, Woodling saw multiple sides of the agriculture industry.

“It was a broad internship—I dealt with animal and flower statistics, crop production, and even the number of hired laborers per farm,” she said. “Like my agricultural science major, the Statistics Service gave me the opportunity to learn about many aspects of the agricultural industry.”

Photo: STEVE WILLIAMS