Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

Dairy Intern: Ashley Sears

Published on 09 July 2010


Senior, Cornell University
Public Policy intern with the American Farm Bureau Federation
Based in Washington, D.C.



Q. In what area are you purusing a degree?
I am majoring in applied economics and management as well as animal science.

Q. What is your agricultural background?
I was born and raised on my family's fourth generation dairy farm, Indian Acres in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, and have enjoyed showing Guernsey and Holstein cattle all my life.

I was actively involved in my local 4-H club and the American Guernsey Youth Association, serving as President of both organizations. In college, I am involved in Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Sorority, Collegiate 4-H and Dairy Fellows.

Q. What previous internship positions have you held?
Last summer, I interned with Holstein Association USA in Brattleboro, Vermont, and worked in the areas of classification, registry and communications.

Internship information
Q. What will your responsibilities be this summer?
My responsibilities this summer include attending hearings and briefings on Capitol Hill, attending company events such as state farm bureau visits, Public Policy and Trade Conferences and outreach meetings with other organizations, and writing statements on policy positions held by the company.

Q. What do you hope to have learned by the end of your internship?
I hope to learn whether or not the area of public policy is well suited for me, further my background in agricultural policies and events going on in the country and world, and make connections with others in the ag sector.


Q. What intrigues you most about the American Farm Bureau Federation?
I am most intrigued by the fact that AFBF is a grassroots organization with over 6 million members and that they are accountable to all of their members on a daily basis; the views of their members are what shapes their policy platforms.

Q. What can you do to make a meaningful impact during your internship?
I believe that by taking advantage of all of the opportunities I am presented with, as well as being willing to learn and educate others around me about agriculture that I will be able to make a meaningful impact.

Q. What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of your intern duties?
I feel the most challenging aspect of my intern duties will be prioritizing between what events and hearings to attend because on a daily basis any number of interesting talks are happening. Also, being able to know about all of the various aspects of current ag policies and their status in becoming law.

Q. What's your best story from the first day or week of your internship?
On my second day of work I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of the Dairy Industry Advisory Committee (DIAC) at the USDA, in which the Chairman of the committee is my professor at Cornell. Also, my best friend's dad was in attendance so it was neat to be able to run into them in such a big city and on the second day of my internship.

Future plans
Q. What do you hope to do after graduation?
I plan to attend law school upon graduating from Cornell and focus on agricultural/environmental law. Once I obtain my JD, I would like to start my own practice in New England or work in the public policy arena for Massachusetts Farm Bureau.

Q. Why do you want to remain a part of the dairy industry?
My future will definitely involve the dairy industry as I hope to maintain my herd of cattle and stay actively involved in the changes and struggles our industry may face. The dairy industry has provided me with numerous friendships, memories, achievements and opportunities, and it is my hope to be able to give back through my career. PD


Ashley shares her advice for gaining experience through summer internships. Check out her article on Proud to Dairy.