Current employment/job title: Land O’Lakes, Inc., Government Relations Specialist
As part of the Land O’Lakes Government Relations team, I represent our cooperative members on federal legislative issues impacting the agriculture industry. I work to advance our policy priorities in Washington DC with government officials, while also communicating to our members and employees and driving our grassroots efforts across the U.S.
What I enjoy most about my job is the opportunity to represent American farmers and our company in Washington to help tell the great story of agriculture. It is vital for our industry to advocate for the issues that impact farmers every day, and I love being able to work for a cooperative that is owned by farmers. I also enjoy the constant learning that takes place working in the fast-paced environment of DC.
I started to develop a passion for ag policy while at Iowa State, both in and outside my classes. I first started interning at Land O’Lakes in 2015 and found that I aligned very well with the company culture and mission. I had the chance to intern in DC with Land O’Lakes in 2016 before getting hired full time to work in sustainability in 2017. I just recently rejoined the Government Relations team full time in Washington. For me, it came down to working for a company that I believed in and in a job area that I was passionate about. Thankfully, I was able to find both in working for Land O’Lakes.
The curriculum of the Ag Business program was extremely valuable in helping understand how the ag economy works – especially paired up with my second major, Public Service & Administration in Agriculture. Beyond just the course work, the Ag Business program at Iowa State pushed me to get involved both on campus and in the agriculture industry, which helped me build a strong network and have opportunities to learn about government and policy. My advisors helped introduce me to a number of individuals and organizations that developed my professional skills and knowledge of the industry. I couldn’t have picked a better major at ISU for my career path in ag policy.
Leverage the strong leadership and reputation that the Ag Business program (and CALS) have in the industry. Being a part of the program helped open doors for me to travel, network with leaders across the industry and build an understanding of what I was passionate about. Also, I think it is incredibly important to maintain the strong relationships you build while you are at Iowa State – you never know when you might run into a fellow Cyclone who can connect you to new opportunities. Lastly, I think it’s important to get involved at ISU with as many different groups as possible – starting with the Ag Business program and then building out to getting involved in CALS and the university.