June 14, 2017

From the Panhandle to D.C. Sprouting from my roots

For those reading at home, I am David Schuler and I am a Senior Animal Science Major at UNL. I grew up on a cow calf operation in the Scottsbluff area near Chimney Rock and also have pivot irrigated corn fields and hay ground. I found myself every day growing up entangled and enthralled with day to day operations of our ranch, which has yielded a passion of mine to learn from every situation. That mental process has now led me in to a classic row apartment 2 blocks east of the United States Capitol building. My neighbors are nice. They call them the U.S. Supreme Court Building and the Thomas Jefferson Library of Congress.

This summer, through the support of the Nebraska Corn Board, I am interning at U.S. Grains Council in Washington, D.C. Their mission is to develop and mature commodity markets overseas through partnerships of corporate agricultural businesses, corn check-off programs, and government funding. So in short, we can thank them for their work of increasing exports and creating demand for our products we produce. I have only been in the city and in the job for a couple weeks, but I can tell this will not be my ordinary summer.

Up to this point in my life, you could find me, every summer of my existence, having a “job” on my family’s ranch. I’ve loved every bit of it. Learning day-to-day operations to strategic planning operations to managerial thinking, they have all been essential and meritable to what my future will entail. Yes, there were times I had other obligations and responsibilities, such FFA state office and agricultural conventions. But every time, I returned home to the 24/7 job of a family ranch. So you can say this experience at the U.S. Grains Council is a new as it gets, and I am SO okay with that.

If you look up the definition of “internship,” you get the results of “to gain work experience” or “to fill a qualification.” While this is true, there is so much more, especially for any agricultural internship. I am gaining relationships and finding my truest passion, while learning how to be a valuable asset on a team that performs and achieves tasks that I, myself, have greenhand experience. Which promotes growth. Seeing the other side of the agricultural industry will provide more perspectives for me moving forward. My passion for international markets was launched after my study abroad experience in South Africa last year, and this experience will help me understand foreign trade policies and regulation to an even higher extent. For instance, one of my main projects here in the office is to help set up Japan Media Teams coming to Nebraska and Missouri to take records of biotechnology and ethanol production this summer. Right now, I am setting up transportation, hotels and confirming the agenda of the trip with the help of the Nebraska Corn Board. I am happy I can use my Nebraska roots and the Midwest help consult to find the right farms and ethanol plants to visit. They will then use this material to promote United States ethanol and biotech crops in their home country. Can’t say I do that on the ranch.

Part of this internship experience will be memorable because of location (duh!) and people. In one week I have made numerous new friends from intern networking events and apartment mates (the “being on my own” feeling was gone within one hour of setting
my bags down). I have visited the National Mall, where the monuments are located, every moment I get, and my desire to learn has kicked in full force to hear and see the history the monuments have to offer. Even the transportation system has been a learning experience! But make sure if you ever come to D.C., label your personal items and don’t leave your new, one week old camera in a Taxi...Don’t worry mom, I got it back.

In summary, I am thankful to Nebraska Corn Board for allowing me this opportunity. I look forward to grow the scope of my knowledge and build on my college experience that will be purposive and genuine for rest of my adult life. So I better get to work!

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