Summer Intern Measures Washington, DC, Through a Texas Lens

    Alex Smith (USA Rice)

    Alex is a from Canadian, Texas, and will soon be a senior at Texas A&M University pursuing a B.S. in Agricultural Economics.

    ARLINGTON, VA – You often hear the phrase “everything is bigger in Texas,” and while that may be true regarding the size of our steaks and football stadiums, I would argue the agricultural presence in Washington rivals that of Texas.  Before my summer internship with USA Rice began, I never imagined the broad scope of the agricultural industry and it’s sizable footprint here in Washington, DC.

    Growing up with an agricultural background provided me with a firsthand glimpse of what producers need to effectively run their operations.  I credit those experiences in the field for sparking my passion for working in ag policy, and more specifically in Title I programs in the Farm Bill and Federal Crop Insurance.  Throughout the summer here, I’ve met with countless trade associations, ag lobbying firms, and legislative staff on Capitol Hill to ensure that I won’t leave any stones unturned on determining the most effective way to help producers combat the risks they face everyday.

    For an Aggie like me, there’s probably no better time to intern in Washington, DC, than during negotiations for a new Farm Bill as it allowed me to see the process behind the crafting of this impactful legislation.  I’ve witnessed how policy gets formed during hearings, meetings, and conversations with staffers and stakeholders.  While I may be preaching to the choir, these experiences have shown me the range of influence decisions made in Washington have on our country and even the world.

    My acceptance into the Texas A&M Agricultural and Natural Resources Policy Program paved the way for my assignment working with the USA Rice Government Affairs team.  Both organizations have given me the necessary resources and opportunities to explore my field of interest and encouraged me to dig deeper and ask those “why?” questions to gain a better understanding of the topic at hand.

    I will be beginning my last year at Texas A&M in the fall, where I have been working to earn a B.S in Agricultural Economics.  While ag policy has not always been what I thought I would do after college, that all changed this summer.  When I graduate in May 2024, I plan to move back to Washington and embark on a career in ag policy, and hopefully, one day, make a big impact here where it matters most.

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