By Emily Scholting, National Corn Growers Association Intern.
So much has happened since I got here that I barely know where to begin. I’ve been working mostly on the same set of projects, but I’ve also gotten to participate in a number of other experiences within and outside the NCGA office. My major project for the summer has really started to take shape, as I have compiled quite a bit of information on agricultural coexistence and I am working with NCGA’s Director of Biotechnology and Economic Analysis to turn these facts into a usable resource. I have learned not only about the current and former debates concerning coexistence, but also about some of the practices growers can use to ensure successful coexistence on their farms. This is especially important for a state like Nebraska, where so many value-added crops are produced in the same area. I have also continued my research with plant phenotyping technology, particularly that which can be used in agricultural fields for remote sensing applications. I have been working with NCGA’s Director of Research and New Uses to put together a list of several technologies and devices that have been developed which could potentially advance the study of plant phenotyping for agriculture.
Outside of the NCGA office, I have had the opportunity to attend meetings with several participants from all over the agriculture industry. Last month, I accompanied some of the NCGA staff to a meeting with Turkish seed association representatives about the American seed and agriculture industries. I spent last week in Washington, D.C. at NCGA’s national Corn Congress with the rest of the staff. I had the chance to attend several meetings with industry leaders, staff, association leadership, and corn grower delegates from all over the United States. Presentations from several notable individuals, including EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota, offered valuable insight into some of the major issues facing agriculture today, as did the responses from growers to those presentations. While we were in D.C., a rally was held on Capitol Hill to protest proposed cuts to the RFS by the Environmental Protection Agency. These cuts in the Renewable Fuel Standard would represent great losses in demand for corn ethanol, and corn farmers showed up in force to raise their concerns. It was definitely an amazing experience to see so many farmers, leaders, and industry representatives standing up for their cause in our nation’s capital. I also spent some time catching up with members of the Nebraska Corn Board and NE Corn Growers Association, accompanying them to meet with Senator Deb Fischer on Capitol Hill. Though it was a busy week, I did get to explore a bit of the city with some of the NCGA staff, including a walk past the White House and a few evenings spent on the town.
Finally, I can’t say enough about how gracious and awesome everyone in St. Louis has been so far. I am so thankful to have found such a great group of people in this city, from my host family to the NCGA staff to everyone else I’ve met along the way. They have been kind enough to allow me to learn from them and work with them, as well as show me around unfamiliar places. I couldn’t ask for a better group to share my summer with this year. I’m so looking forward to what the rest of the summer has in store. Until next time!