AgEcon Students Spend Summer In Washington DC

Three Department of Agricultural Economics students spent their summer in Washington D.C. Cory Harris (Portland, IN), a junior majoring in Agricultural Economics and Political Science a, interned with the Government Relations Department with the National Farmers Unions.  He worked  with Farm Bill related items – attended hearings; read, summarized, and matched the organizations’ policy with proposed legislation; and wrote reports and newsletter articles for their members.  Harris commented, “Coming to Washington has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I have learned so much and made so many good connections. And it’s great to meet so many Boilermakers around the city."

Micah Matlock (New Castle, IN), a sophomore majoring in Agribusiness Management, interned with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA).  Matlock had the following to say about his internship responsibilities, “As an intern, my duties varied from day to day, however, almost all of the work that I did revolved around the making of the 2012 Farm Bill.  Each week, NASDA sent me to various subcommittee mark-ups and committee hearings for both the House and the Senate so that I may take notes on the development of the new Farm Bill such as proposed amendments (there are currently over 220 amendments being proposed).  After attending these mark-ups and/or hearings, I wrote reports and/or articles so that the entire NASDA staff and the NASDA membership (the NASDA membership consists of Secretaries, Commissioners, and Directors of Agriculture for each of the 50 States. I.E. - Joe Kelsay, the Director of Ag. for Indiana) were updated on all of the current developments of the Farm Bill on the Hill.”

Erin Whittaker (West Lafayette, IN), a junior majoring in Agricultural Economics and French, interned with the Minority of the Agriculture Senate Committee. As part of her responsibilities, she compared and calculated different prices for different programs offered in the proposed and previous Farm Bills; attended meetings and hearings with Committee staff; and sorted through talking points and amendments for the debate on the floor.  Whittaker stated, “I loved Washington, DC while working on the Hill I was sucked into a whirl wind of politics. I am more aware than I ever have been on domestic and foreign current events. It is incredible what all we have at our finger tips. The biggest thing that I have learned is that passing a bill is a lot of behind the scenes work from the Committee staff. The staff on the Committee have been working hard and late to negotiate and help pass the Farm Bill. To work on the Hill you have to be incredibly patient and be able to go with the flow and expect things to change on a dime.”


Micah Matlock, Erin Whittaker, and Cory Harris




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