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Advocating for Agricultural Policy in Washington, DC

In April, 30 ABM students and eight mentors traveled to the Nation’s Capital where they had the rare opportunity to see the inner workings of the government. Those who attended were exposed to policy writers and decision-makers and got a look at the world of politics via public policy and government relations.

Students spent a day on Capitol Hill, where they had the opportunity to meet with Senator Ted Budd, Senator Thom Tillis’ office staffers, and their local representatives. Afterward, they toured the U.S. Capitol Building, met with USDA Undersecretary Robert Bonnie, met with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and toured the U.S. Department of Treasury. Students were given an in-depth, behind-the-scenes view of policymaking through a visit with two RJ Reynolds Tobacco lobbyists.

Justin Somers, chairman of the Office of Student Mentoring (OSM) Board of Directors and trip organizer, was impressed by how students took to Capitol Hill to talk with lawmakers.

“Their grasp on the subject matter and their willingness to engage with elected officials and staff proved that the future of agriculture leadership in the policy world is bright,” he said. “I am proud of our students, this program and what the OSM is accomplishing.”

The group also had the opportunity to visit some historically significant locations, such as Ford’s Theater and Arlington Cemetery.

“The relationships I built, connections made and valuable knowledge gained has not only provided me with a better understanding of our government but also how to better lobby for my community,” ABM Senior Dessa Houston said.

This trip was made possible by the generous gifts made to the Office of Student Mentoring. To learn more about how the OSM provides students with resources and opportunities for career growth, visit the webpage here.