Internship Spotlight: National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

By Greta Tank, U of M Senior

A POSITION IN GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
This summer I had the opportunity to explore my interest in agriculture policy while working for the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) in Washington, DC. NCFC was formed in 1929 with regional and national farmer cooperative members who are comprised of more than 2,500 local farmer cooperatives across the country. My internship allowed me to work with the Government Affairs team on top legislative issues impacting NCFC members, particularly GMO labeling. The first few weeks were spent scheduling Hill visits with Senators and Representatives for attendees of the NCFC annual conference. Throughout the summer, I attended briefings and hearings and conducted research on agriculture issues such as sustainability and GMO labeling.

BUILDING A NETWORK
It was exciting to be in Washington, DC during an election year! Many agricultural issues gained more media attention because of the election and there were additional protesters gathered around the Capitol. I was able to watch the GMO labeling bill become a law throughout the summer after it passed in both the Senate and House. This bill is said to be the most influential for agriculture in the past 25 years, so it was thrilling to see the process unfold, especially behind the scenes. One of my favorite parts of the summer was building a network of agricultural interns from across the nation who share a passion for policy. Nearly every week, I was able to attend a luncheon hosted by other ag interns to learn about their positions and the company they work for.

THE TAKEAWAYS
Living 1,000 miles away from family and friends was a new experience for me, and I’m glad I took the opportunity to explore all that DC has to offer. My internship challenged me to be a self-starter and forced me to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I loved living and working in such a historic city, but realized that I don’t want to work there long-term. Although I loved the convenience of the metro system, the history and culture of DC, and the political environment, I missed the Midwest way of life. Interning with NCFC was a rewarding experience and I enjoyed learning the unwritten rules of DC work life, making friendships across the nation, and spending a summer learning more about our government.

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