NAMA hosts milling industry summer interns in D.C.
The North American Millers' Association hosted six summer interns from member companies for a Washington public policy experience recently. NAMA President Mary Waters, Vice President Jim Bair, and Director of Government Relations Sherri Lehman led Cargill/Horizon Milling interns Becky Benoit and Chris Brown; ConAgra Mills interns Heather Gibson, Brad Hermreck, and Erin Kelley; and Wilkins Rogers Mills intern Sabrina Reynolds to congressional and executive branch offices to learn about the connection between their work in the mills and the legislation and regulations developed in Washington, D.C. Brad Allen, vice president, manufacturing, and Jeff Thomas, head miller, ConAgra Mills; Aaron Black, director of operations, Wilkins Rogers Mills and president of the International Association of Operative Millers; and Latisha Dawson, operations human resource manager, Horizon Milling, accompanied their interns.
"NAMA is proud to be working with Dr. Dirk Maier at Kansas State University to develop the next generation of millers. The Summer Intern Public Policy Experience is just one more way NAMA can support students interested in a career in milling," said Waters.
Interns met with Sens. Pat Roberts, R-KS, and Jerry Moran, R-KS, and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-KS. Executive branch offices visited included the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the White House Domestic Policy Council, which handles rural issues in all government agencies. Members of Congress and White House staff told the future millers that they will play a key role in keeping rural America vibrant by buying the crops grown there. They will also need to produce nutritious food to feed up to 9 billion people by the time they retire. "The message we heard was 'what you do is important--millers matter,' said Waters.
At USDA, the interns met with Joseph J. Prusacki, director, Statistics Division, National Agricultural Statistics Service, and toured the USDA "lock-up" facility. NAMA has recently taken over the collection of flour-production data that is used in conjunction with wheat-production data collected by NASS. At the lock-up facility, the interns learned about the stringent security and procedures for disseminating the official USDA crop report that impacts markets around the world. They also visited the Secretary of Agriculture's office and met with a senior staff member, Todd Batta, who discussed USDA efforts on the drought and farm bill.
Benoit, Hermreck, and Reynolds are enrolled in the milling science and management program, and Gibson is enrolled in the finance/agribusiness program at Kansas State University. Brown is enrolled in the mechanical engineering program at Virginia Tech. Kelley is in the food science and technology program at Iowa State University. They expect to graduate in 2013.
NAMA is the trade association of the wheat, corn, oat, and rye milling industries. Member companies operate mills in 38 states and Canada, representing more than 90 percent of total industry production capacity.