ACE 199: Spring Break in Washington D.C.

ACE 199: Spring Break in Washington D.C.

Apr 3
Lucas Frye, Senior in Agricultural and Consumer Economics

Last week, myself and 18 other College of ACES students took off towards a nontraditional spring break destination- Washington D.C.  Over the course of seven days, we were immersed within the scenery and lifestyle of our nation's capital through the Ag Policy and Leadership class.  Leading up to the trip we had been researching and providing mock testimonies on many of the current issues surrounding agriculture.  

Upon our arrival we made stops at regulation agencies from the EPA to the USDA, business governmental affair offices from Monsanto to Mondelez, and trade organizations like the American Farm Bureau and the Renewable Fuels Association.  Midweek we battled snowy conditions while waiting for a tour of the White House- it was well worth it though.  

We were also fortunate to meet with numerous past and present congressional and cabinet leaders including Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow and former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman.  We wrapped up the week by visiting our own congressional district offices.  

One of the highlights, for many, was the opportunity, Monsanto afforded us, to attend the premiere showing of the documentary Farmland- which will hit theaters later this month highlighting the challenges of young farmers and ranchers across the country. 

As a class, we certainly have to give a big shout-out to our instructors: Mr. Jon Scholl and Jessa Barnard as well as Professor Jonathan Coppess for utilizing their own personal connections as well as the University of Illinois network to put together the packed and eye-opening agenda we experienced.  

I have been blessed, over the last couple years, to be involved with a few of these experiential learning courses that the ACE department offers, and every time I find myself taken aback by the places and people we are able to meet with- a definite testimony to the phenomenal opportunities in ACES. 

ACE 199 students with Farm Bureau President, Bob Stallman