By Lauren Stohlmann, NCGA Intern, St. Louis.
|NCGA office in St. Louis|
You know the phrase “hit the ground running?” According to Google, this is defined as, “start something and proceed at a fast pace with enthusiasm.” That’s how I’d define my first days as an intern at the National Corn Growers Association, or NCGA for us who regularly have to say it and don’t want to lose our breath saying “National Corn Growers Association” 65 times every day, unless it’s necessary of course.
My first day at NCGA I came to the office, had a brief “here’s where everything is” tour, “here’s how your laptop works” orientation, and met the people I’d be seeing and spending time with this summer. After only two hours at the office, I jumped in a car with a woman I’d only just shook hands with that morning, and drove to the St. Louis airport. From there we flew to Chicago, Illinois for a Communications Summit. Here, I met numerous communicatiors working for corn boards, grain councils, corn councils, etc. from more than 10 different states. We learned how to best measure one’s communication efforts in our various, corresponding associations. We discussed different approaches by referring to current issues in the corn grower world, regarding ethanol in general, the RVO proposal by EPA, how to get legislation killed or passed in our favor. I learned so much sitting in a room with 20 + agriculture communicators that I couldn’t even imagine. I was able to listen to several states’ perspectives on various topics and aid in problem solving on these issues.
|Photo taken during boat tour of Chicago skyline|
That evening we were able to indulge in a bit of Chicago. We went on the Chicago Architectural Boat Tour to learn the history behind each of those big tall buildings in the Windy City that you see so many pictures of. Later, we got to see what all the fuss was about the pizza in Chicago while being able to converse with the communicators in a more social setting.
The following morning, we were lucky enough to visit the Chicago Board of Trade. To say that I felt like I was going to get trampled on, is putting it lightly. We learned what it’s like to work in such an environment, what the different rolls people play and ask questions about the agricultural trade pit where people place on commodities such as corn, soybeans and meat using sign language and shouting techniques. We had one final group discussion that afternoon regarding water quality and what the different state organizations are doing to engage with the growers and the public with this issue.
|Photo of my home as I left for my internship|