Hi Nebraska Corn readers! It’s so crazy that two months have already passed since I started this internship! Coming into this position with the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, I was 95% excited and 5% nervous to start something new. I was unsure of what my future in agriculture would look like. I knew that this year would prove to be a good thing for me, one that would focus on my interests in agriculture, as well as help me build my skills in the communication aspect of the industry. And boy, if the rest of the year at Nebraska Corn is anything like this summer has been… I never want to leave! I am so very thankful for the opportunity to serve this association.
One of the things I was looking forward to most as I began this internship, was having the chance to get out of the office and meet our growers, first-hand. Attending a couple of board meetings has given me the opportunity to get to know our growers a little better as I listened to discussions, heard about their day-to-day experiences and got the chance to pick their brains. It’s interesting to see how they interact, and to hear them go back and forth on current topics such as property taxes. One of my very ambitious goals for this summer is to learn all the names of our board members (yes, all 26 of them); I’ll update you on how that plays out. Having two “Morgan’s” in our office can be a little confusing at times, but it’s a blessing in disguise because even though I’m “the intern”, it makes it pretty simple for everyone to remember my name!
I’ve really enjoyed getting to help prepare for the summer events Nebraska Corn organizes across the state. As an intern, one of the first events I got to take part in was an ethanol pump promo at Casey’s in Omaha. We pumped gas and had conversations with consumers about ethanol production. This was the first time I got to really watch consumers experience that “ah-ha moment” — when what we were saying helped them understand how Nebraska’s largest industry, agriculture, affects their own lives.
Coming into this experience, if you would have tried to talk with me about current ag policies… I would have probably given you a funny look. That’s because growing up on my family farm, we were busy with the day-to-day aspects of our operation that we didn’t take the time to discuss bigger picture items. It’s so easy to get caught up in our busy lives and forget to pay attention to the things happening in the U.S. and world-wide that also impact our farm’s success. This internship has helped me realize the importance of staying up-to-date on all things ag policy. I’ve set a goal of reading three different articles each week to help me get moving in the right direction. I know I have a lot to learn, so I also made a point to listen to the afternoon session of the Nebraska Legislature and found them quite interesting.
Over the last month, I’ve also come to realize that we need to take every opportunity we can to help consumers learn more about where their food comes from! Advocacy and education are two sectors of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association’s mission statement that I’ve gotten to see in action. At the CommonGround Banquet on the Farm, I got to see first-hand, the work of some truly amazing women in Nebraska agriculture. CommonGround volunteers put on an event for family consumer science teachers from across the state, where they were able to converse, ask questions, and learn about all things related to Nebraska agriculture. It was an eye-opening experience to see all the moving parts that must work together to put on this event.
One of my weekly tasks is drafting social media content for NeCGA and our local associations. This is the communication aspect of my internship that I knew would push me to expand my abilities. Coming up with graphics was challenging at first and I probably overwhelmed Morgan with all the different options I sent her to review, but over time I’ve gotten more comfortable with creating content, and I’m a professional now! (okay probably not, but we’re getting there).
In the few short months I have been working with the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, I have learned so much more than I could have in a classroom, including how to be a better “agvocate”. I’ve already had the opportunity to meet and build relationships with so many new people. I can’t wait to meet more of you at upcoming events such as the annual golf tournament and our ethanol nights at the races! The people of Nebraska Corn are truly some of the most passionate about this industry and they make me even more excited for my future in agriculture!
Morgan Leefers, NeCGA Communications & Policy Intern