While pursuing my degrees in animal science and agribusiness at Purdue University I wanted to explore what my post-graduate options could hold. I applied for internships that would benefit my developing professional skillsets and agriculture background, and thankfully became the American Feed Industry Association 2014 summer intern.
Although I was not privileged to be raised on a farm, I am lucky enough to realize the importance of our food system, and thanks to AFIA, the role feed plays in it. I have however, been interested in agriculture by choice since a young age; I began showing cattle in Western Pennsylvania when I was 13. I have gradually become more involved, serving as the Pennsylvania beef ambassador and as the vice president and co-founder of the Purdue Collegiate Cattleman’s Association.
This summer I had the opportunity to attend AFIA’s Feed Industry Institute in Minneapolis, Minn., where I interacted with various industry representatives and learned about the industry in a four-day crash course. I remember commenting to another attendee, “It’s like four years of college, in four days.”
The sessions at FII ranged from physiology to grain trading to the nitty gritty of ration development and its ingredients. I particularly learned from the session on vitamins taught by Dr. Mamduh Sifri of ADM Alliance Nutrition, Inc. Sifri, in good humor, would call out on me periodically for answers throughout his presentation, which helped me remember pertinent facts on the topic. I also found Sarah Muirhead of Feedstuffs topic to be vital—participants in animal agriculture should act as ambassadors and tell our story.
After kicking off my internship on the road, I spent my time in Washington, D.C., learning from AFIA staff on topics from the legislative and regulatory process to international relations to industry communications. I participated in conference calls, visits to Capitol Hill and even helped with the design of the organization’s new website.
One of the final outings I plan to partake in before heading back to school is a trip to an area feed mill. It will be a great experience to see the inner workings of how feed is made at a larger facility. I will meet those who have made animal food production a daily part of their lives and hear their stories. I hope the trip allows me to gain more “in the field” knowledge about the industry before heading back to school this fall.
For more information about the AFIA internship program, please contact Leanna Nail, AFIA director of administration, at (703) 558-3567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.