My first three weeks interning for USDA have been extremely interesting and enjoyable. A native of Austin, Texas, I grew up spending most weekends on my grandparents’ farm, the same farm where we currently raise Texas Longhorn cattle. Instead of returning to Austin after the baseball season, I came to Washington, DC to take advantage of this great opportunity to learn about both agriculture and the government while also making a difference.
I knew USDA played a significant role in the lives of farmers and ranchers, but I continue to be amazed by the breadth of programs and agencies here. Rural Development, for example, does amazing work in rural communities, from building hospitals to improving water supplies to increasing the availability of broadband internet. I also have a greater appreciation for USDA’s role in disease and pest control and its significant impact on the success of our country’s agricultural output and economy over the years.
In addition to learning about USDA, I have been afforded some great opportunities through my internship. This week I went to a Tribal Leaders Reception for the National Congress of American Indians. I met several interesting people, both tribal leaders and people who work in other departments of the government.
The reception was held in the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. It was my first time visiting the museum and reminded me of all the great museums and government buildings in Washington, DC. I have been to a few of them now, with my favorite two being the Library of Congress and the National Archives. I’m looking forward to more great experiences in the weeks to come.
Ross Ohlendorf, a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, is spending part of his off-season at the United States Department of Agriculture. A graduate of Princeton University, he is spending eight weeks as an intern with USDA’s Marketing and Regulatory Programs.