Editor's note: This is the first of a two-part series on the ag interns serving in D.C. this summer.  

Each summer, a new generation of aspiring staffers, analysts, lobbyists and communications specialists floods the offices of farm-related organizations and congressional offices. While in Washington, many interns participate in the Ag Intern network – facilitated by CropLife America – to attend "lunch & learn" sessions, workshops and networking events. 

The American Seed Trade Association has tapped Mary Diaz from Marymount University, Arlington, Va., as a government affairs intern. Amaka Ifeduba, a plant breeding Ph.D. student from Texas A&M, is serving as ASTA’s communication intern.

The Agricultural Retailers Association added Jordan Gilles, an animal science student at Cornell, as a policy intern. Previous, Gilles had roles in the Wisconsin State Senate and National Western Stock Show. 

Lydia Callabresi joined Merck Animal Health's Washington office as public policy intern. She studies public policy at Virginia Tech.

At the National Pork Producers Council, Texas Tech graduate Cassady Craddock joined the team as a communications intern. Craddock is pursuing a master’s degree in agricultural communications from Oklahoma State.

Screen-Shot-2024-07-02-at-11.19.52-AM.pngPhil Brasher, Editor-in-Chief of Agri-Pulse, speaks at a D.C. Ag Network luncheon hosted by Agri-Pulse at the USDA.Max Korniak joined the Environmental Defense Fund as an intern. Korniak is a natural resources and environmental student at Purdue.

From James Madison University, Mary Washko and Jake Dumas joined CropLife America. Washko is the communications intern, Dumas the executive office intern. Hattie Polson, CropLife’s government relations intern, recently graduated from Kansas State and will be pursuing graduate school in the fall at Michigan State.

The Senate Agriculture Committee brought on a group of interns for Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. Morgan White, who studies regulatory science and agriculture at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, previously interned at the Soil Health Institute. Philip Haynie IV, political science, economics and pre-law student at Hampton University, is among the interns. Haynie previously worked on his family’s Haynie Farms and interned with the USA Rice Federation last summer. Additionally, Ben Rich from Michigan State, who studies political theory and constitutional democracy, is an intern.

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For the House Ag Committee, Tom Newberry of Duke is interning under Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa. The public policy undergraduate is a Nakayama public service scholar with ranching experience in Montana. 

Senate Agriculture Committee interns pose in the Capitol. From left are Lexie Dilbeck, Taylor Hoover, McCully Allen, Reese Mitchell, Michelle Sutton and Ella Hommel.
Several are working with the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee under ranking member Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark. Returning to the Hill is 
Reese Mitchell, who previously interned with the House Natural Resources Committee and is currently studying at Arkansas. McCully Allen, an allied health studies student from Mississippi, joined the minority team. Ella Hommel, an Iowa State agriculture business student, joined the minority staff for the summer. Previously, Hommel interned with Bunge and America’s Cultivation Corridor. From Arkansas, Lexi Dilbeck is an agriculture education, communication and technology student. She’s a member of Agriculture Communicators of Tomorrow. Taylor Hoover comes to the committee from Arkansas State and a previous internship at Arkansas Farm Bureau. Hoover studies agricultural education. Michelle Sutton is the committee's legal clerk. A poultry science graduate from Texas A&M, she is now at University of Texas School of Law. Sutton previously interned with the National Association of Wheat Growers. 

Land O’Lakes added David Lopez to the team as a government affairs intern. A student at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, he previously interned for the Senate Agriculture Committee and was a National FFA Officer. Ambalika Khanna joined as the cooperative’s rural services MBA intern. Khanna is a master’s student at Georgetown.

At the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Julie Diebel, an animal science student at Texas A&M, is the public policy intern. Gabriella Johnson is the NCBA producer education and sustainability intern. Johnson graduated from Purdue and is now pursuing a master’s in animal science from Auburn. In conjunction with the NCBA and the Public Lands Council, Gunnar Bell is joining as public policy intern. Bell is a graduate of Texas Tech and is now pursuing a master of public administration at Texas A&M.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture tapped Ben Lindgren as a policy intern. Lindgren is an international politics student and formerly a UNESCO undergraduate fellow at Penn State. Emery Mask from Tarleton State is NASDA’s communications intern. Mask is an agriculture communications student and equine trainer in Texas. 

DTB Agritrade tapped Zane Mindrup, agricultural economics student at Nebraska-Lincoln, as an intern. Mindrup interned for the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center.

Laney Ferrell of Texas A&M joined the National Association of Wheat Growers as policy intern. Ferrell, an agribusiness operation undergraduate, is active in the Texas Aggie Cattlewomen.

At the Meat Institute, Setah Alavi, a recent public health graduate from Tulane and Peytin Hereth from Iowa State are interns. Alavi is now working towards an MSc in clinical and public health Nutrition. 

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