August 26, 2013

Intern experiences testimonies on the Hill; hosted ag intern luncheons

Kyle McGinnBy Kyle McGinn, NCGA-DC Intern 

Good afternoon. This is my third and final blog entry. My internship with the National Corn Growers Association Washington Office concluded on August 2nd. I am truly saddened to leave Washington, for I have greatly enjoyed my summer here with the National Corn Growers Association. However, I am equally eager to return to the Cornhusker State and resume my studies at the University of Nebraska.

One of the true highlights of my final few weeks with NCGA was witnessing Ms. Pam Johnson (President of NCGA and a Floyd, IA Corm Producer) testify in front of the United State House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power on July 24th. The Subcommittee has been holding a series of oversight hearings regarding the Renewable Fuels Standard over the course of the summer, many of which I have had attended. This particular hearing was focused on ‘Stakeholder Perspectives.’ Ms. Johnson appeared alongside representatives from the National Chicken Council, the Environmental Working Group, and the National Council of Chain Restaurants. She offered a strong defense of corn-based ethanol, noting that “Since its enactment in 2005, [the RFS] has created jobs, lessened our dependence on foreign oil and improved the environmental footprint of our nation’s transportation fuels.” Ms. Johnson then withstood some tough questioning from Committee members; all NCGA members should be proud of her advocacy.

Additionally, as Bryce Vaughn mentioned, we had the opportunity to host an ‘Ag Intern’ luncheon here at the joint United States Grain Council-NCGA Washington office, on July 23. Over the course of the summer, Bryce and I have had the opportunity to join a broad network of agricultural interns working in the Washington area at series of luncheon events, to learn more about Washington based agriculture organizations. We met on 10 occasions or so, to learn about various organizations including CropLife America, the National Chicken Council, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Millers Association, and many others. Our USGC/NCGA event was greatly enjoyable. Approximately 25 interns attended, representing both government and trade organizations. Mr. Jon Doggett (Vice President of Public Policy, NCGA) and Mr. Tom Sleight (President and CEO, USGC) offered a bit of information about the two respective groups, and the agricultural community in Washington. These luncheons further demonstrate the tight-knit relationships between the agricultural community in Washington.

In my final weeks, I have been able to see a few more sites of Washington, including the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the USDA-led National Arboretum, and the National Portrait Gallery. I would certainly recommend these lesser known (and free!) attractions to anyone visiting Washington.

Lastly, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Nebraska Corn Board, for affording me this opportunity. I have learned a tremendous amount; I hope that I have done you proud. I leave with a much greater knowledge of agricultural production. I also wish to express my gratitude to the National Corn Growers Association, for hosting me this summer.

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