July 1, 2016

From Classroom to Capital


By Maddy Breeling, USGC summer intern in Washington DC

Living in the U.S. capital, and working within an area that is so vital to my home state, Nebraska, at the same time has been an amazing experience.  Within my internship I have been able to combine my understanding of living within an agricultural state, the things I have learned while attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and my more current experiences of living in Peru, a growing market for U.S. products as well as an agricultural state itself. 

While pursing my Global Studies degree at UNL, I have had the opportunity to study a variety of topics including international business and trade, public policy, and culture. Here, at the U.S. Grains Council, all of these areas come into play on a much larger scale. I have been able to see how truly globally connected agriculture is, and how vital exports are to our economy. This, in turn, has opened my eyes to the many issues facing this industry, and how important the work of agricultural establishments is in attempting to overcome them.

Throughout my time so far I have had the opportunity to observe almost all areas and aspects of the USGC and have learned so much already. The most interesting thing I have experienced is the work that goes into the development and maintenance of international markets for U.S. products, like corn. From researching the current industries located within that country, to the tariffs and non-tariffs barriers, to the people’s perceptions of GMOs and American crops, and everything in between, creating a new market takes a lot of time and effort to be familiar with all the necessary aspects. This is something I am very excited to work within and look forward to learning more about.

In addition to this, my main and final project for my internship revolves around the perceptions of trade by farmers, and international communication efforts for biotechnology. I will be researching both of these areas to discover how the members of the USGC feel about trade, and how to best target issues that arise, as well as how other organizations have begun the process of promoting and educating other countries and populations about GMOs and their benefits. This will create a platform for the USGC to move forward in their understanding of how their producers think about current agreements, such as TPP, and how their consumers feel about the products.

As I walk past the Capitol on my way to work each morning, I feel so blessed to be given the opportunity to work here in D.C., surrounded by the movers and shakers of our nation, on issues that are so close to my state, and myself. I am so excited to be a member of the USGC’s team, and look forward to the upcoming weeks and the experience that will come with it. 

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