MIAP Student @ USDA Diversity in Agriculture Conference
I recently was selected to be a participant in the USDA Student Outlook Diversity Program with the USDA in Washington D.C. for a week. Individuals were selected as participants from Land Grant Universities around the U.S. There were 20 undergraduate students and eight graduate students all with diverse backgrounds in agriculture.
On Tuesday of my week, I visited the USDA and met with many of the top administration in that department. We toured all of the main offices in the building, and spoke with people that have a large impact on agriculture here in the U.S. On Wednesday, we had the opportunity to meet with the House Agriculture Committee and speak with the staff about the issues at hand on the next Farm Bill. The process of formulating the new bill had just started, so it was interesting to see how a bill gets planned out, and all of the time and legislation that goes into creating it.
Thursday and Friday of my week were spent at the USDA Agriculture Outlook Forum. This is a conference held yearly to inform agricultural leaders on current issues in the industry: foreign trade, U.S. production numbers, policy changes, and many others. Attendees included government officials from all over the world, corporate leaders, diplomats, and industry professionals. I was brushing elbows with the top leaders of agriculture in the world. My group also had the opportunity to meet with the acting Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Young, in a backroom of the building guarded by the secret service.
I left D.C. inspired, and much more informed about current issues in agriculture around the world. I also left with the friendships of the other 27 students in the Diversity Program. These individuals will undoubtedly be the next generation of leaders in our industry, and being able to spend a week with them was extremely rewarding. I would encourage anyone to apply for this program, and other programs like this. They can lead you to some truly incredible people, and give you experiences you will never forget.
~Grant Lapke, MIAP Student