July 29, 2015

Exploring the Ag Industry: From St. Louis to Washington DC and Back Again!


By Emily Scholting, National Corn Growers Association Intern. 

Hello again! I can’t believe it’s been about a month since my last internship blog. Time is flying by here in St. Louis. I’ve kept busy learning about the corn industry, meeting new people, acting like a tourist, and having a lot of fun!

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.
 Because I can’t resist spending some of my downtime in St. Louis acting like a tourist, I have spent several weekends exploring all the amazing things this city has to offer. Through the kindness of my amazing host family and members of the NCGA staff, I have seen several parts of the St. Louis area that were previously foreign to me. The city of St. Louis is divided into several suburbs and neighborhoods that are each as unique as the people who live there. In my time here, I have played pinball in Maplewood, walked through the Loop, played darts at Blueberry Hill, and sampled some of the best Italian food I’ve ever had on the Hill. I’ve also gotten to see Forest Park, the Chinese Lantern Festival held at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, the St. Louis Zoo, the Old Courthouse, the Gateway Arch, Ballpark Village, and Busch Stadium. I recently went on a tour of the famed Anheuser-Busch brewery in the city, and got to see some of the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales. There is still so much I’d love to do in my remaining time here. St. Louis is definitely a city with something going on all the time!

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!

No comments:

Post a Comment