Last summer, Abigail Putnam, a senior in the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences studying agricultural education and communication interned with the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), one of the oldest trade organizations in the country. Putnam received the college’s Carl Loop Legislative Internship scholarship, part of the VP Promise initiative.
As an intern, Putnam primarily worked with the government affairs team to support ASTA’s policy efforts by assisting with policy research, monitoring congressional activity, tracking and analyzing priority legislation, and monitoring agency briefings. Putnam said her favorite part of the internship was working on the ASTA’s priorities with the 2023 Farm Bill. “It was so rewarding to represent the seed industry in Washington, D.C. during the draft of the 2023 Farm Bill.”
In late June, Putnam participated in the ASTA Leadership Summit in Indianapolis, Ind. where she networked with ASTA members and visited Indianapolis landmarks such as St. Elmo Steak House, Victory Field and the headquarters of Corteva Agriscience. “This was my first trip to the Midwest, and I enjoyed learning from ASTA members and seeing the nation’s breadbasket,” Putnam stated on her experience at the summit.
“I am so thankful for the University of Florida, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and ASTA for encouraging me to discover new ways of achieving my career goals.”
Serving as a government affairs intern for the ASTA also showed her the importance of seed to agriculture. “The seed industry is vital to continue growing a stable food supply for Americans. With increased pressures facing agriculture from all sides, the seed industry is at the forefront of food security,” she said. Putnam also stated that the experience reaffirmed her desire to work in agricultural policy and continue advocating for American agriculture.
The VP Promise is an initiative to provide financial assistance for students pursuing experiences in agriculture, life sciences and natural resources. CALS supports student success both inside and outside of the classroom and encourages students to broaden their perspectives through enriching opportunities such as study abroad programs and travel to conferences. For more information on the VP Promise visit the CALS website.