By Colton Flower, NCGA intern, Washington, DC.
This summer experience really opened my eyes to all the opportunities in agriculture on the Hill and reaffirmed my interests in agriculture policy. The staff at NCGA gave me a lot of freedom and responsibilities. I was able to attend dozens of legislative hearings on various issues of interest. Several of my projects threw me into something I had little knowledge of and through these “baptisms by fire,” I got into the nitty-gritty of a lot of issues and gained a lot of valuable insight. Now, I can look back and appreciate how much I have learned and really accomplished. Sam Willet gave me projects that had me down in the weeds on crop insurance and I can’t wait to see how my research might help Sam in his efforts to improve the various crop insurance programs.
I also got to immerse myself in the Capital’s unique culture and make several new friendships and new network connections. The U.S. Grains Intern, Maddy, and I have become very good friends after this summer and I was also fortunate to have two great random roommates from the Midwest that I look forward to staying in contact with. Being a part of the D.C. Ag intern network connected me with dozens of like-minded interns from all over working in different aspects of the industry and I also made great contacts with different Associations and congressional offices, which I am sure, will prove to be invaluable as I seek employment here in the not so distant future! I think the experiences that took place out side an office are just as valuable as the ones that took place inside one. Being exposed to so man different people from all walks of life really broadened my horizon and challenged my perspective.
I would challenge all of my peers to pursue an opportunity like this. I haven’t lived at home since leaving for college and considered myself pretty independent before, but after this summer I think I have become much more self-reliant and am much more prepared in all aspects of life to begin a career.
Again, thank you for the opportunity I had this summer. I really can’t explain all that it has done for me in a single page paper. I hope this program continues on for a log time.