August 5, 2013

The importance of Agricultural Exports

By Bryce Vaughn, U.S. Grains Council intern

“Nothing improves an economy as efficiently as agriculture.”-Bill Gates

This quote comes from Bill Gates as he was addressing a group of Capitol Hill staffers in Washington, D.C. this summer. During my internship with the U.S. Grains Council I have kept his quote on my computer monitor to remind me that agriculture is much more then feeding the world, it is an integrated part of the world that allows everything else to work. Growing up on my family’s farm in Western Nebraska, I felt a sense of pride knowing that the corn was feeding and fueling the world. Little did I know that a couple years later I would be interning for the Council working to expand international markets for U.S. corn, barley, sorghum and co-products.

Since my last blog post I have had the opportunity to attend National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress in Washington, D.C, with delegates from the Nebraska Corn Board. During the conference we were able to meet with all five Nebraska Congressional delegates on Capitol Hill. During these visits we asked our Nebraska delegation questions on the Farm Bill, immigration issues, the RFS and also concerns about new trade negotiations such as TPP, and T-TIP that are coming down the pike.

This past week was the U.S. Grains Council’s 53rd Annual Board of Delegates Meeting in Ottawa, Canada, which is an international gathering of USGC members. One of the most important events of the meeting was officer elections to the board of directors; Alan Tiemann of Seward, Neb. was elected to the Council’s Board of Directors as an officer. I had the opportunity to help with the Grains Foundation auction which raises money for programs like the I-CAL which allows for college students to travel internationally to learn about agriculture outside of the United States and the importance of free and open trade. The auction was a huge success.

As mentioned in my previous blog post, NCGA and USGC hosted an intern lunch for D.C. agriculture interns. Jon Doggett (NCGA) and Tom Sleight (USGC) spoke with the group of interns about each organization and also briefed the group on agriculture issues as well as the importance of young professionals in agriculture.

The final day of my internship is August 6th, as I return to UNL to finish my degree in agriculture economics and public policy. This internship has been a valuable experience and has greatly contributed to my education. I have been able to take the information that I have learned during past internships and from the classroom and apply it to real world experiences. I have gained a great understanding how important agricultural exports are to American farmers and the world. I would like to thank everyone who read my blog posts this summer and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding my experience.

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