This semester I had the opportunity to take ACE 291, Agricultural Leadership and Policy, with Jon Scholl as the instructor. I was excited to begin the course as I have had many friends and peers highly recommend taking it. The central component of the class was a trip to Washington, D.C., and after taking this trip, I am confident that the course has been one of the most valuable and impactful classes I have taken throughout my education.
The trip to Washington focuses on meeting with agricultural policy leaders in a variety of areas. We met with legislators, farmers’ organizations, environmental groups, government agencies, lobbyists, and more. By the end of the trip, it seemed as though we had connected with virtually everyone relevant to agricultural policy. One of my favorite visits was the day we spent on Capitol Hill with each student meeting with their respective congressional office. In my congressman’s office we met with his legislative assistant in charge of agricultural policy and learned a lot about policymaking and generally how congressional offices operate.
I have always had a personal interest in policymaking and have a particular passion for agriculture. After participating in this trip, I fully intend to pursue a policy career in Washington, D.C. Regardless of everyone’s motivations or expectations going into the trip, I know my classmates and I all had an incredibly valuable educational experience beyond what we could have hoped for.